Thursday, August 23, 2018

Temporary Scar on Polk County: Permanent Scar on the Sport - Full Article

Cuckson Report | August 22, 2018

I almost checked my calendar when I saw this – surely an April Fool? If only it were a subject for levity.

The Tryon Daily Bulletin labels itself the world’s smallest daily newspaper; not difficult because Tryon, Polk County, North Carolina has a population of just 1,700. I’d wager that article has garnered more page views than anything else they’ve published this year. It was shared like topsy around the global endurance community, which then did its collective nut.

The news story describes the incredible 60-mile excavation frantically underway to complete the track for the World Equestrian Games endurance ride which is, er, due to run three weeks today (September 12th).

The article begins: “Amber Hall owns A & M Site Services in Columbus. She, along with her husband Milford and their crews are responsible for making the trials safe and making sure they meet all the Fédération Equestre Internationale rules and regulations. It has to be 30 feet wide and 14 feet high, completely clear of rocks, holes and tree limbs for 100 miles.”

That statement, as writ, is a gross distortion of FEI technical spec. It’s beyond tragic that this contrived track is being represented as what a championship ride should be. So many had pinned hopes on the return of the world championship endurance ride to its spiritual home. Surely at last we’d see riders win medals for actually being able to do steering, and for the tactical conservation of their horse (heck, a horse they even know by name) over a natural trail...

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