Blog Number 2 15th September
Tryon Equestrian Centre is quite a place, and as the first week of competitions gets underway it is proving to be a very spectacular setting for WEG. With a massive, on-going expansion programme to accommodate this and subsequent events, the facilities are superb for the horses and participants. The numerous arenas, rings and walkways are set amongst shopping, dining and relaxation areas and every way you turn there is entertainment of the sporting, educational or credit card-flexing varieties. Our impression is that the quality of the permanent horse facilities is top notch. The atmosphere is very calm and cheerful in the central barn area where the eventers are stabled, with the Team GBR horses sItuated in a good ‘end of row’ spot, with maximum airflow and easy access to water and other supplies. There are spacious rings available closeby for training and exercising.
The stable areas are fortunately are built to withstand the severe storms that characterise this part of the USA. With incoming hurricane Florence already causing hardship to coastal residents and threatening to deluge the region across a 400 mile front there have been more discussions about weather than even at a UK event. Weather updates are being provided daily and plans are in place if conditions deteriorate significantly.
Riders’ and owners’ arrangements are focused on the team hotel in Asheville, a characterful town busy with tourists, many of whom come to visit the Biltmore Estate, ancestral home of the Vanderbilt family, and to enjoy the arts, the food and craft brewing scene and to tour the Blue Ridge Mountains. We took half a day to drive west from Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a road closed to heavy traffic that leads you high up across the mountains and through the forests. A very spectacular route with mown verges and banks of wild flowers and an excellent diversionary tactic to quell pre-event nerves.
No rest days for the riders, team trainers and support staff. They are busy from dawn to late at night, working in extreme temperatures that mean the horses need constant monitoring and everyone is learning to adapt to the conditions. Team morale is high and we all enjoyed a reception at the start of the week, at which the eventing riders were presented with their new MUSTO kit. The riders and support teams are now entirely focused on the competition and owners are keeping discreetly in the background. However when we see the squad members they are all very upbeat and clearly enjoying their joint mission, as well as throwing themselves (not literally) into the extracurricular kayaking, team workouts and physio sessions.
As of the Wednesday trot up, the games are now very definitely on on, and whilst we enjoyed a team Tattersall dinner at a steakhouse in Asheville last night (Thursday) we missed groom Marcelle’s company as it is an hour-long drive back to the stables. She couldn’t be persuaded to leave her horse even for a few hours downtime. Interesting to hear from her how much he is drinking in the heat during in the course of an evening, about three times his normal intake. All the grooms’ attention to detail is a marvel and people come up to us frequently to say how tremendous the Team GBR horses are looking.
Hot and humid days gave way to a warm and breezy Thursday morning, perfect for the first day of eventing competition and the second day of pure dressage. The arenas for these competitions are adjacent and from the top floor of VIP hospitality – we have been hosted very generously – we can view both competitions by crossing the room. This is horse heaven. We watched Gemma ride early, then moved across the room to watch Carl in the main stadium, back to see Piggy’s test, across to see Charlotte, back to see Tina, all without moving away from the air-conditioned hospitality area. To experience this quality of horsemanship in one day was special beyond measure. We could also appreciate the rides of Isabel Werth and Sonke xxxxx as they led the German dressage team to gold. I resolved to book tickets to other integrated championships, as it is such a pleasure to be here. Amidst all this dressage, endurance horses circulate on exercise, driving horses pound their way through occasionally and the reiners audience cheers can be heard a good distance away.
More to follow as the competition develops…
I am Linda Allan and I am part of the Arctic Soul (known as Spike in the yard), Syndicate and am lucky enough to be making the trip to WEG this week.
We are heading out on the 10th September and staying til the 18th and I will update you as best I can with the trial and tribulations of an EHOA member out at WEG
We set up our accommodation about a year ago – Spike was going so well and I had everything crossed and we chose to stay in a B and B about 12 miles away in Landrum.
Gemma’s mum Marcelle is doing the quarantine phase groom role and I hope she will get to send us some early stable pics too.
Until later in the week