Tryon International Equestrian Center to Retain for Now “George Morris Arena” Name for Centerpiece Stadium

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Podium awards at Tryon International Equestrian Center this weekend with Sharon Decker, TIEC Chief Operating Office at left. © TIEC

Aug. 11, 2019

By KENNETH J. BRADDICK

Tryon International Equestrian Center, host of the 2018 World Equestrian Games, will for now retain the name “George Morris Arena” for the centerpiece stadium while the Olympian and lifelong equestrian appeals a decision banning him for life for alleged sexual misconduct involving a minor.

Sharon Decker, TIEC Chief Operating Officer, confirmed to dressage-news.com Sunday that the arena was referred to as Tryon Stadium although named for George Morris prior to the World Games a year ago in an effort to attract corporate sponsorship.

The arenas at TIEC, which was formally opened four years ago, were named for families and individuals who provided foundational leadership for equestrian sport in the Carolinas where the facility is located. Since then, it has grown into one of the world’s premier equestrian show grounds despite some shortcomings at the world championships that were staged last September after Canada pulled out as host with less than two years to go.

“At the present time,” Sharon said, “we are not making a change to the name of the arena, as George Morris appeals the decision. We in no way condone or turn a blind eye to abuse or inappropriate behavior at any level. The initial decision does not intend to do so but rather, continues to acknowledge the role that George Morris had in bringing horse sport to our Carolinas’ region.”

The main arena has been called Tryon Stadium and the new arena that was the main WEG dressage and jumping ring named The International Stadium.

“It really became an issue of practicality long before any of this was an issue,” she said. “And it also opens us up to corporate sponsorship by site, something I decided we needed to be in position to do.”

Sharon also confirmed that a halt had been made to all construction to focus on horse shows–of which 16 international competitions–including two dressage CDIs–were on the calendar this year.

TIEC is one of only a handful of equestrian centers in the world capable of hosting all international disciplines–the Olympic sports of dressage, eventing and jumping as well as driving, endurance, reining, vaulting and para dressage.