WEG officials cancel freestyle dressage competition

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The 2018 World Equestrian Games freestyle dressage competition, originally scheduled to take place Sunday at Tryon International Equestrian Center, was canceled by officials, according to a release by WEG media representatives.

Officials originally announced on Saturday that the event, originally slated to take place at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, would be moved to Monday due to the heavy rain forecast for the area. However, while working out the logistics of the rescheduled event, the challenges of moving the competition to a new time proved to be insurmountable, officials said.

“This was not an easy decision, but we have explored every option, including trying to reschedule the horse departures, and even looking at moving the competition into the indoor with a change of footing, but the logistics of making all this happen are just not possible,” said Michael Stone, president of the 2018 games organizing committee.

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“We know this is desperately disappointing for the 15 athletes who had qualified their horses for the freestyle, and of course for all the spectators who had bought tickets, but the weather has simply left us with no choice. 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.

This decision has been taken in accordance with Article 109.12 of the Fédération Equestre Internationale General Regulations, which states: “Subject to the unanimous agreement of the President of the Ground Jury, Technical Delegate and President of the Veterinary Committee in consultation with the Organiser, a Competition (either before or during) can be postponed and/or cancelled, not only due to force majeure, catastrophic occurrences, extreme weather conditions but also for non-compliance with FEI Rules and in specific situations where the welfare or safety of the Horses, Athletes, Officials or the public is compromised.

The decision did not affect the Olympic qualification process, as this was completed on Thursday. The teams that have earned their ticket to Tokyo 2020 are Germany, USA, Great Britain, Sweden, Netherlands and Spain.

A separate notification was sent to ticket holders.