Thursday, July 02, 2009

Australia: WEG proves 'hugely expensive'

Weeklytimesnow.com.au

Jenny Sheppard

July 3, 2009

THE high cost of transporting horses and riders to next year's International Equestrian Federation World Equestrian Games in Lexington, Kentucky, has created international uproar.

National federations throughout the world have expressed concern over the costs of flying horses to America for the WEG, which will run from September 25 to October 10 next year, and the inflated prices that "official" hotels near the horse park are charging for accommodation.

Eight equestrian disciplines - driving, dressage, endurance, eventing, para-equestrian, reining, show jumping and vaulting - will decide their world champions during the competition.

England team manager Will Connell said: "It will cost between 1.25 million BP ($Aus2.57 million) and 1.5 million BP ($Aus3.08 million) to take eight full teams to WEG."

A full English team would comprise 51 horses.

For Australia, travel costs are always an issue, and high-performance manager Brett Mace said any shortfall was normally met by competitors.

"Getting the horses to Kentucky will be hugely expensive, but we accept the location for WEG will not always be geographically convenient," he said.

"But it is WEG and it does provide Olympic qualification opportunities."

2010 WEG chief executive Jamie Link said accommodation had been discussed at a recent meeting between national federations and organisers.

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