Tampabay.com - Full Article
September 18 2018
The World Equestrian Games are hoping to finish on a positive note after a dreadful first week that included the cancellations of two events, an organizational mistake that sent riders in the wrong direction at the start of a race and one horse being euthanized.
"It has been a rollercoaster ride," organizing committee president Michael Stone said Tuesday.
The games, which are considered the "Super Bowl of equestrian competition," drew more than 600 equestrians and 700 horses from 71 countries and six continents to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in the small town of Mill Spring, North Carolina — about 90 miles east of Charlotte. More than a 500,000 spectators were expected to attend the event, which concludes Sunday.
The WEG got off to an embarrassing start Wednesday in the first competition when some riders in the 100-mile endurance competition were sent off in the wrong direction by race officials to start of the race, which began before dawn. Some horses ran nine miles before the race was stopped and the decision was made to restart.
However, the race was later called off midway through because of intense heat and humidity —as well as sloppy course conditions — following a mid-afternoon rainstorm, causing more frustration from the riders. The event was not rescheduled.
"That meant a few unhappy people who were leading the race," Stone said. "But the one thing we have to do is make sure the horses are looked after and are safe. Horses can suffer badly in those conditions."
The Federation Equestre Internationale, equestrian's governing body, has started an investigation into the error...
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