World Cup Finals Preparations Near Completion With Foreign Riders & Officials Giving Rave Reviews
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
OMAHA, Nebraska, Mar. 26, 2017–Preparations were near completion Sunday for the World Cup Finals of dressage and jumping being staged in this American heartland city for the first time and winning rave reviews from foreign participants and officials for some of the finest indoor facilities ever provided at the annual championship.
The highlights so far have been the atmosphere that has been created by the organizers of the 32nd year of the World Cup dressage final and extra efforts made for the benefit of the horses by providing for the first time areas to exercise horses that are quarantined by requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
From the time of arrival at Epperly Airfield, Omaha’s airport, to virtually anywhere in the downtown area of this city of about 450,000 people banners proclaim the event in which the Grand Prix of 17 combinations from 11 countries will be staged Thursday and the Grand Prix Freestyle Saturday to decide the champion.
And everyone notes how polite and helpful are people, who also have a can-do attitude that overcame the “Omaha?” that brought the championships here with every indication that it will be successful beyond expectations.
The stadium has seating for 13,500 spectators and VIP boxes.
The special arena for lunging was agreed to by the organizers to put the welfare of the horses first.
Dutch veterinarian Jan-Hein Swagemakers who traveled with the horses from Europe praised the decision. Most of the horses–the top equine athletes in the world–could not be exercised for about 24 hours from the time of leaving their home stables to arriving at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha. The ability to provide plenty of room for the horses to be lunged in addition to the walking that is usually available was a big step forward.