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WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES -WEG- in Kentucky Right Now!






The World Equestrian Games are happening in Kentucky RIGHT NOW!  This is big news since the USA has never hosted before.  Always these games have been European based.  So, I wanted to support our American friends who have worked so hard to bring this huge equestrian show to fruition!  You go, people!  I’m totally hoping that we shine as hosts for these games.

HOW DID I GET INVOLVED?  I’M NOT, BUT…

I know about all of this not because I’m an Eventer or Dressage enthusiast, but because when I was in Kentucky last week for the WHIA Conference, the WEG was all the buzz!  This is a huge event not just for equestrians, but for the economy of Kentucky!

In fact, one of the woman at my table had signed up to be a VIP HOST during the games.  The first day of the conference, this woman was very excited and telling us that her first day of training for VIP HOSTING was that night, after our conference.  She told us that she had received her “beautiful” uniform (very elegant and well made) and that she was incredibly excited to meet all the VIPs and celebrities that attended the Games.

On the second day of the WHIA Conference, this same woman arrived looking shell shocked.  I smiled inside.  Having been a commercial producer for many years, I know how demanding celebrities and VIPs can be…  Anyway, she looked like a deer in headlights.  As she was fixing her morning coffee I sidled up to her and said, “How’d it go last night?”  She looked at me and said that she was totally overwhelmed and that they kept stressing, “Whatever they do to you, don’t cry!”  Oy.  Poor girl.  I wish I knew her better to see how she was holding up.

Reining was introduced in 2002

Anyway, back to the Games!

From the Opening Ceremonies - you can follow on FB - click on image!

THE WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES

The USA is hosting the WEG at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky September 25 – October 10. 2010.

Imagine the preparation for this!  800 athletes and 800 horses!!!!!

You can go to the website and get overviews of the history, the schedules, stories, interviews and fun little tidbits like the local time and weather… but I’ll try to fill you in here.

HISTORY

The FEI officiates several equine World Championships.

Previous to 1990, the individual World Championships were held in many countries with the home country of each event winner becoming the host country for the following Games.  For example, if I won the Dressage event, the US would host the Dressage Games 4 years down the line.

In 1990, however, it was suggested that 6 of these disciplines become the WORLD EQUESTRIAN GAMES and be treated like the Olympics where host countries change every 4 years.

There were originally 6 different events involved:  Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance and Vaulting.  (In 2002, Reining was included.  And this year, 2010, will be the first year that Para Dressage will participate.)

So, this is a very, very big deal to Kentucky with European VIPs, thundering crowds and important horses all descending at once…   I was in Louisville for the convention (not Lexington), and the town was buzzing about what was happening in Lexington.  In fact, my hotel lobby had a large stack of very thick and very nice, “World Equestrian Games Kentucky Guidebooks”.  I snatched one and was quite impressed.  It had the regular fare of where to eat and where to shop, but it also had local recipes and charming stories, some history… It was very well done.  I read it on the plane home.

My booklet

For me, I’m thrilled to see Reining involved.  I’m not a reiner or even a big fan, but I do know that this element brings a whole new group of participants and viewers.  I like this type of expansion and I’m glad there is a Western discipline represented.

SPECIAL USA HORSES TO FOLLOW

I actually am cutting and pasting an article I read.  It seemed perfect the way it was written and I thought you might like to read this, too.  You can follow these horses and their progress on the WEG website.  This article is quoted from: by: Edited Press Release September 21 2010, Article # 16982

People and horses from around the world are descending on the Kentucky Horse Park for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG). With the world’s largest airlift of horses already underway, horses from every corner of the earth are making their way to the Kentucky blue grass.

The U.S. squad is represented by an international group of horses of all shapes and sizes too, here is a glimpse of the four-legged athletes that will be representing the United States at the World Games:

Driving:
There are 23 different breeds represented on the U.S. Driving Team: Austrian Warmblood, Holsteiner, Oldenburg, Swiss Warmblood, KWPN, Thuringer Reitpferd, Westphalian, French Trotter, Hanoverian, Sachsen Warmblood, Belgian Warmblood, German Warmblood, Dutch Gelderlander, Swedish Warmblood, Friesian-cross, Quarter Horse-cross, Percheron-cross, Thoroughbred-cross, Welsh Sport Cob, Sport Cob, Morgan, Dutch Harness Horse, Hungarian Warmblood.

David Saunders drives a team of black Morgan geldings owned by Alan and Maureen Aulson. The team includes a set of full-bred brothers, Nordby Shadow’s Rocky and Nordby Shadow’s Sam Spade, both are by Ortawn Captain Royal out of Ribbon Shadow SRD. Sixteen-year-old Nordby Coalie’s Coal Dust, was also sired by Ortawn Captain Royal.

Cindy Jo O’Reilly drives a team of mares. Cindy is one of just two women drivers in the entire driving field at WEG.

Dressage:
For the first time since 2002 there will not be mare on the U.S. Dressage Team in a World Championship or Olympic Games. Brentina, ridden by Debbie McDonald, represented the U.S. in the FEI World Equestrian Games in Jerez, Spain, the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, the FEI World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany and again at the Olympic Games in Hong Kong, China. Danish and Dutch horses will represent the United States.

Taken at the Opening Ceremonies, William Shatner and his Saddlebred

Eventing:
The US will be represented by three Irish-bred horses, BallyNoe Castle RM, Tipperary Liadhnan and Mandiba. Two Thoroughbreds bred in the Southern-Hemisphere, Woodburn (New Zealand) and Neville Bardos (Australia) failed on the racetrack but excel in their second careers. Both are ridden by Southern-Hemisphere bred riders (Aussie ex-pats Boyd Martin and Phillip Dutton. Neville Bardos is by former Coolmore sire Dehere, who used to shuttle between the U.S. and Australia. Another former racehorse, Courageous Comet is a New York-bred.

Endurance:
All the horses on the U.S. Endurance Team are either full Arabians or part bred Arabians. These small rugged horses are perfectly suited to go long distances across all types of terrain. They have been training in the Blue Grass for two weeks in Shakertown.

Jumping:
Sapphire standing at 17hh towers over 2008 Olympic teammate Cedric who is just 15.2hh. Belgian, Dutch, and French horses are ready to jump for the United States.

Para-Equestrian:
Carlingford JD is the only paint horse representing the United States. He (along with teammate Paxton Abbey) also had a former career as an event horse proving his versatility. (
Colorful Carlingford JD, an Irish Sport horse of color, not a Paint…)

THIS JUST IN FROM Michelle Reichert, Public Relations Specialist, American Paint Horse Association

Actually, there are two American Paint Horses competing at the World Equestrian Games and Carlingford JD isn’t one of them. Carlingford JD is a painted horse of another breed, not in our American Paint Horse registry. APHA has two registered American Paint Horses in the reining competition. Bonnies Smart Chic is a registered overo Paint Horse that is competing for the Spain team. Colonels Nite Special (Gunners Special Nite AQHA) is a registered solid Paint-bred competing for Team USA and will compete in the Individual reining finals today with Tom McCutcheon.  Hope this clears this up a bit, please feel free to contact us to get more details if needed.  Thank you.

Reining:
All the horses on the U.S. Reining Team, RC Fancy Step, Gunners Special Nite, Hollywoodstinseltown, Mister MontanaNic and Whale of A Whiz, are Quarter Horse Stallions. Mister Montana Nic, at 12, is twice the age of his six-year-old teammates on this all-American bred team.

Vaulting:
The U.S. Vaulting Team is represented by 13 different breeds: KWPN, Hanoverian, Oldenburg, Mecklenburger, Rheinlander, Belgian Warmblood, Selle Francais, Percheron, Sachsen Warmblood, Danish Warmblood, Thoroughbred-cross, Shire, and Westphalian.

HOW DO THE HORSES GET THERE?

When I started thinking about the Games, not only was I focused on the organization and practical procedures (being a producer…), I was really interested in how they ship all these horses to the US.  OMG.  I ship my show horse to Oklahoma and I’m obsessing the entire week…  I’m sure he’ll contract some bug and spend the entire show week wheezing and coughing in quarantine.  So, I was really, really interested in the process to ship a horse Overseas.  I thought you might be as well.  I did some research.

An aluminum horse crate for overseas flight

I thought this page was the most insightful and gave you a basis step by step.  It was written by people who ship Curly horses across the pond.  Although not high-tech in their explanation, it was the most thorough.  Here is the link.

There is much to consider!  You have to create the correct paperwork according to whichever country you are visiting.  You have to have your horse in quarantine here before you go.  The horse ships in an aluminum container that is lifted onto the cargo hold of the plane.  The pilot controls the temperature of the cargo hold (yikes!).  Professional handlers have to fly with the horses in the compartments (food, water and medical care), you MUST know every detail about the country of arrival and what paperwork and conditions they demand– of not, they can send your horse home at your expense!  So, do your homework or contact a professional at overseas shipping to your particular destination.

Crate being loaded

Here is an excerpt from an article I read regarding these Games and how the horses traveled (which you can read here).

Each horse, per its owner’s instruction, can be flown first class, business or coach. That determines how much room each horse needs in the stall, determined by his or her size, breed and temperament. A first-class stall would be 7 feet wide; a business class stall would be a two-horse stall, allowing each about 3 feet, 8 inches of movement; coach class would be a three-horse stall, with about 21/2 feet of room per horse.

Lots of planning.

However, I hear that shipping via plane is much less taxing than shipping via truck or train.  And, I agree.  If I was balancing in the back of a truck versus standing in a plane or train, I’d pick the plane, too.

PHOTOS ON FACEBOOK!

The Kentucky Horse Park has a FB page where you can view photos from the Games!  Click here.

WATCH ONLINE

Watch online, click here!

You can watch particular events online.  Click here.  Although you have to pay for the subscription to the full shows, there are free videos on that page as well.  So, if a tidbit will hold you over, go there to watch the free trailers.  But, most likely, the trailers will make you want MORE!

This is pretty great for the USA to host the WEG… Let’s support this and cheer on our Teams!


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