World Cup Finals Preparations Near Completion With Foreign Riders & Officials Giving Rave Reviews

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The competition arena for the World Cup Finals of dressage and jumping in Omaha being prepared for the first equestrian championship in this American heartland city. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

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 Centurylink Center festooned with giant World Cup banner and sidewalk artwork that can be found throughout downtown Omaha. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
A special lunging area with the same footing as in the warmup and main arenas was set up to allow exercise of foreign horses in quarantine for 36 hours after arrival. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

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.

Weihegold OLD keeping an eye on a photographer as he awaits Isabell Werth on Monday to begin riding in preparation for the Final competition. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Dejavu and rider Wendi Williamson have become star attractions as the first New Zealand combination in a dressage World Cup Final. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Qunghai, to be ridden in the World Cup jumping by Guido Klatte, Jr. of Germany, perhaps the youngest competitor in Omaha, with J. Tim Dutta whose company arranged shipping of the horses and worked with the organizer on designing the facilities. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Although the World Cups are competed by individuals and not teams, banners of Belarus and Brazil display national pride. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Glock’s Voice makes sure a visitor knows who is his sponsor. The horses are housed in stalls 12 feet and 12 feet (3.6×3.6m) and a tack stall of the same size is assigned to every horse. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Riders and grooms signing up for popular “Outlet Mall Shopping,” which the organizers arranged because of the typically lower prices available in the United States. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

“Doc Hollywood,” California veterinarian Richard Markell and Dutch vet Jan-Hein Swagemakers in the quarantined FEI stabling. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

The warm-up arena. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

 

Awards features being completed ahead of the competition starting Tuesday for jumpers and Wednesday for dressage. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
VIP boxes being finished in the competition arena. © 2017 Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com