WEG endurance course approved

Published 10:08 am Thursday, August 30, 2018

USDA inspected and approved the course

MILL SPRING — The endurance race at the World Equestrian Games is on.

After not knowing last week if the endurance course would be approved, the United States Department of Agriculture inspected and approved the course Tuesday.

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Tryon International Equestrian Center Chief Operating Officer Sharon Decker confirmed the approval Wednesday morning.

“We passed,” Decker told the Bulletin. “All is set to move forward.”

Polk County Commissioner Ray Gasperson brought up some concerns last week during a meeting, including that the course had not been approved, and that 40 international horses had tested positive for a tick-borne disease called equine piroplasmosis.

Decker said TIEC did not have a final decision as of last week on the endurance course and does not know how many international horses have tested positive for piroplasmosis. Decker also said TIEC will not take any chances or ask the USDA to take any chances with any kind of decision where there is a health risk concern. 

Decker told commissioners last week that getting the course ready has been a real challenge because of the rain the area has had, but there were no exceptions made in what is required. The USDA gives guidelines on how to clear and mitigate the trails for the race.

Decker also said TIEC had to modify a barn for quarantine at a significant cost.

The final inspection for the veterinary treatment facility was this week as well. The post arrival quarantine barn already passed its final inspection.

The endurance course is mostly located on property owned by TIEC managing partner Roger Smith. There is one-third of the course located on 47 other private properties.

The Endurance race is scheduled for Sept. 12.

Opening ceremonies will occur on Sept. 11 at TIEC, located off Pea Ridge Road in Mill Spring.

Sept. 12 will be the Endurance race, Reining and Dressage.

Sept. 16 will be “Super Sunday,” which will include Eventing Stadium Jumping and Dressage Freestyle Finals.

Sept. 17 will be a rest day and the rest of the games will be ParaDressage, Vaulting, Show Jumping and Driving. Closing ceremonies of the games is scheduled for Sept. 23 following Driving and Show Jumping.