EQUESTRIAN Preview: World Equestrian Games starting in North Carolina

The entire equestrian world only gets together twice every four years, once at the Olympic Games and once at the World Equestrian Games, being held from 11-23 September in Mill Spring, North Carolina at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.

Some 702 riders from 68 nations will compete in 29 events in eight disciplines, including the Olympic classifications of Dressage, Jumping and Eventing. The other disciplines include Driving, Endurance, Reining, Vaulting and Para-Dressage. The Tryon facility was named to host the event in 2016 after Bromont (CAN) pulled out, citing the financial burden.

The schedule of the medal sessions:

∙ Dressage:
13 September Grand Prix II
14 September Grand Prix Special
16 September Grand Prix Freestyle

∙ Jumping:
21 September Team Competition
23 September Individual Competition

∙ Eventing:
16 September Jumping segment

∙ Driving:
23 September Team and Individual

∙ Endurance:
12 September Team and Individual

∙ Reining:
12 September Team Competition
15 September Individual Competition

∙ Vaulting:
19 September Team Freestyle Final
20 September Pas-de-Deux Final
23 September Freestyle Finals for Men, Women, Squad

In terms of the Olympic disciplines, the favorites are indicated by the most recent championship finals and current FEI World Rankings:

∙ Dressage:
○ 2016 Olympic Games: 1. Charlotte Dujardin (GBR) 2. Isabell Werth (GER)
○ 2017 World Cup Final: 1. Isabell Werth (GER) 2. Laura Graves (USA)
○ 2018 World Cup Final: 1. Isabell Werth (GER) 2. Laura Graves (USA)
○ 2018 FEI Rankings: 1. Isabell Werth (GER) 2. Laura Graves (USA)

∙ Jumping:
○ 2016 Olympic Games: 1. Nick Skelton (GBR) 2. Peter Fredricson (SWE)
○ 2017 World Cup Final: 1. McLain Ward (USA) 2. Romain Duguet (SUI)
○ 2018 World Cup Final: 1. Beezie Madden (USA) 2. Devin Ryan (USA)
○ 2018 FEI Rankings: 1. Harrie Smolders (NED) 2. McLain Ward (USA)

∙ Eventing:
○ 2016 Olympic Games: 1. Michael Jung (GER) 2. Astier Nicolas (FRA)
○ 2018 FEI Rankings: 1. Oliver Townend (GBR) 2. Tim Price (NZL)

NBC has extensive coverage of the WEG, with 65 hours of total coverage on NBC, NBCSN and the NBC Olympic Channel; the schedule is here. Look for results here.

The first controversy of the 2018 World Equestrian Games has already surfaced: not enough beds to house grooms at the Tryon International Equestrian Center. The organizers are working on it, but according to an open letter to the national federations, “our plan for all grooms’ accommodations to be on-site could not meet the demand” and “We are doing everything we can to rectify the situation.”