Hurricane Florence Forces More Cancellations at The World Equestrian Games
Hurricane Florence has forced the Grand Prix Freestyle competition at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Tyron, North Carolina, to be cancelled.
“Following yesterday’s announcement of the intention to hold the Helgstrand Dressage Freestyle competition on Monday morning due to extreme rainfall forecast for Sunday’s original time slot of 8.30am, further discussions have been taking place to review the options available to reschedule.”
“Despite the best efforts of the whole Tryon 2018 team and the Officials, who have been working on plans for rescheduling since yesterday evening, including meetings with the Chefs de Mission and Chefs d’Equipe, the logistics of putting all necessary elements into place in time have proved insurmountable. As a result, and very regrettably, the Dressage Freestyle will now be cancelled.”
Micheal Stone, the President of the Organising Committee at this years WEG’s, assured that “every option” has been explored to try to run the competition. The team at the WEG have looked into moving horse’s departure dates and holding the competition indoors, with a change of footing. Stone explained that the logistics behind ideas to keep the competition running are “just not possible”.
“Horse welfare has to be the top priority and flying the horses out on the same day as competition doesn’t work, so sadly the decision to cancel the Freestyle had to be taken.”
The decision to cancel the Grand Prix Freestyle does not affect the Olympic qualification process, as Thursday’s successful teams all earn their ticket to Toyko 2020, including Germany, USA, Great Britain, Sweden, Netherlands and Spain.
Hurricane Florence has caused further disruption to this year’s WEG, phases of the eventing competition needing rescheduling to avoid bad weather.
The showjumping phase of the Mars-sponsored event will be moved from Sunday to Monday.
Catrin Norinder, the FEI’s Eventing Director stated;
We have to finish, this is Olympic qualification for the [top six] teams, we will try to make it happen. The freestyle was cancelled because horses need to go home. We will finish this competition with showjumping.”
European dressage horses are scheduled to fly home on Monday (17 September), a factor contributing to the cancellation of the Grand Prix Freestyle. Event horses are scheduled to fly home the following day, making the updated schedule feasible.