Tryon , North Carolina to Host 2018 World Equestrian Games

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Tryon International Equestrian Center.
Tryon International Equestrian Center.

Nov. 3, 2016

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Tryon, North Carolina has been selected to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games of the seven international horse sports to be staged from Sept. 10-23.

Tryon in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains was the unanimous choice to stage the flagship event of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) held once every four years. The FEI Bureau met Thursday and made the selection that will be the second time for the WEG putside Europe since it was created in 1990; the other was Lexington Kentucky in 2010.

The choice of Tryon means that the world championships of dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining and vaulting as well as paralympic events stay in North America, that was thrown into doubt in the summer when Canada withdrew its plans to hold the event at Bromont near Monttreal and venue of the 1976 Olympic equestrian events.

The dates–different from the original ones of Aug. 12-26–were changed after two scientific studies commissioned by the FEI which stated the climate would be significantly more favorable in North Carolina during September, particularly from a horse welfare perspective.

“We are very pleased to announce Tryon as the host of the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018,” FEI President Ingmar de Vos said.

“The Tryon team submitted a really impressive bid and we have every confidence in the organizing committee. It’s a truly spectacular venue and almost all the necessary infrastructure for our eight disciplines is already in place. We are looking forward to a fantastic celebration of top level sport as all the disciplines come together to crown their world champions at the Games in two years’ time.”

The Tryon International Equestrian Center was created by a group headed up by Mark Bellissimo who also operates the Global Dressage Festival and Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida, the Central Park Horse Show in New York and the Colorado Horse Park in Parker.

The Tryon venue in Mill Spring is situated on 1,600 acres/650Ha and has 1,200 permanent stables, 12 arenas including a floodlit international arena with a potential spectator seating capacity of up to 12,000 and VIP seating for up to 1,500, a covered arena with 5,000 seats.

A world-class cross country course to be used for both eventing and driving.

The venue is surrounded by hundreds of miles of equestrian trails for endurance.

The FEI described the venue as containing “excellent facilities for athletes and spectators including restaurants, hospitality, accommodation, retail and resort amenities.

An on-site state-of-the-art veterinary facility is currently under construction.

“We are thrilled with this news and thank the FEI Bureau for having faith in us and entrusting us with the honor of hosting this prestigious event,” said Mark Bellissimo.

“It’s a really great fit for North Carolina’s equestrian heritage and we look forward to working closely with the FEI and with the U.S. Equestrian Federation to produce fabulous FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018.”

Bromont lost the Games when it could not secure funding.

After a review of options following the withdrawal of Bromont, the FEI president proposed that the Bureau allocate the Games to Tryon.

“In light of the time frame, with the Games in less than two years, existing infrastructure was a crucial factor in the evaluation process,” the FEI said.

“The FEI is 100% committed to the FEI World Equestrian Games concept and we are extremely grateful to all those that showed interest in hosting the 2018 Games,” Ingmar de Vos said. “Their enthusiasm demonstrates the importance of the event across the equestrian community.”