The original dates for the Games (12-26 August) have been changed following two scientific studies commissioned by the FEI which stated that climatic conditions would be significantly more favourable in North Carolina during September, particularly from a horse welfare perspective. The FEI also looked at date clashes with other fixtures on the FEI Calendar to ensure the optimum timeslot for the 2018 Games.
“We are very pleased to announce Tryon as the host of the FEI World Equestrian Games 2018”, FEI President Ingmar de Vos said. “The Tryon team submitted a really impressive bid and we have every confidence in the organising committee. It’s a truly spectacular venue and almost all the necessary infrastructure for our eight disciplines is already in place. We are looking forward to a fantastic celebration of top level sport as all the disciplines come together to crown their world champions at the Games in two years’ time.”
The Tryon International Equestrian Center, created by Mark Bellissimo in Mill Spring, North Carolina, is situated on a 1,600 acre site at the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The venue has 1,200 permanent stables, 12 arenas including a floodlit international arena with a potential spectator seating capacity of up to 12,000 and VIP seating for up to 1,500, a covered arena with 5,000 seats, and has a world-class cross country course that will be used for both Eventing and Driving. The venue is surrounded by hundreds of miles of equestrian trails for Endurance. The venue contains excellent facilities for athletes and spectators including restaurants, hospitality, accommodation, retail and resort amenities. An on-site state-of-the-art veterinary facility is currently under construction.
“We are thrilled with this news and thank the FEI Bureau for having faith in us and entrusting us with the honour of hosting this prestigious event”, Mark Bellissimo said. “It’s a really great fit for North Carolina’s equestrian heritage and we look forward to working closely with the FEI and with the USEF to produce fabulous FEI World Equestrian Games in 2018.”
The FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 were previously awarded to Bromont (CAN), but a lack of secure funding led to mutual agreement between the FEI and the Canadian Comité organisateur des Jeux Équestres Mondiaux 2018 (COJEM) to terminate the host contract in July of this year.
Following the withdrawal of Bromont, the FEI Bureau mandated the President to find a solution and, after a thorough assessment of a number of options, the President proposed that the Bureau allocate the Games to Tryon. In light of the timeframe, with the Games in less than two years, existing infrastructure was a crucial factor in the evaluation process.
The Bureau met by teleconference today (3 November) to agree the allocation and were unanimous in their support of the Tryon bid.
“The FEI is 100% committed to the FEI World Equestrian Games concept and we are extremely grateful to all those that showed interest in hosting the 2018 Games”, Ingmar de Vos said. “Their enthusiasm demonstrates the importance of the event across the equestrian community.”
The FEI World Equestrian Games™, held every four years in the middle of the Olympic cycle, is one of the biggest events on the global sporting calendar, combining eight World Championships at one event. The FEI disciplines - Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining - are all included on the competition schedule.
The inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games™ were hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, and Aachen (GER) in 2006. The first Games to be organised outside Europe were the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) 2010. The Games came back to Europe for the 2014 edition, the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Normandy (FRA).
The 2014 Games in Normandy attracted more than 500,000 on-site spectators and a worldwide television audience of 350 million, as well as delivering an economic impact of €368 million to the French economy.
The FEI World Equestrian Games™ History Hub can be viewed here