Is it too soon to be getting excited about the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France? Nah. Kate Samuels has got the scoop.
Top photo: The Abbaye aux Hommes in Caen, the host village for WEG 2014
Well, now the Olympics are well and truly behind us, and we’ve been licking our wounds for a few weeks, it’s time to look forward to the Normandy World Equestrian Games of 2014. I know a lot of riders will be gunning for redemption in France, and I am personally extremely excited to see how the US Team fairs under a new regime for the first time in over two decades. Besides, I just got my very first fundraising email from the USET about Normandy, so I figured it’s time for the first of many hyped up sneak previews that you will be treated to from the chinchillas at EN.
So let’s talk about the location: the village of Caen (pronounced “CON”) is host to seven out of eight official WEG disciplines. Caen is an absolutely beautiful little University town just two hours outside of Paris. Show Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Vaulting, Para-Equestrian Dressage and Reining will all take place there, while Endurance will be located nearby in the bay of Mont Saint Michel. From the pictures (see below), I’m not totally sure how/where/why the Endurance is taking place on this island, but that seems to be the case. Perhaps they are introducing underwater Endurance phases?
Mont Saint Michel & its bay
Normandy is, from all angles, the most important equestrian area of France. Horses are intimately and historically linked to this area through Le Haras du Pin (French National Stud), the equestrian complex at Deauville, the Institute of Horse Pathology, the French Institute of Horses & Horse Riding, and the du Pin Mare Breeding Facility. What I’m trying to say is, the place of positively chocker-block full of horses and horse-related structures and schools. Check out this cool video promoting the area. (Edit: I feel like I need to move to Normandy after watching this video).
So, where will the competition be held in the town? So glad you asked. Let’s talk about the venues for the various events. First up: The D’Ornano Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held, in addition to Dressage, Show Jumping and both the Dressage and Show Jumping portions of the Eventing competition. The Cross Country will be held at Le Haras du Pin, about an hour’s drive away.
The Reining events will be held at the Exhibition Centre, which will also play host to the Equestrian Village, sideshows, restaurants and other general event stuff. The Zenith Indoor Arena will be the venue for the Vaulting, and it is conveniently located right next to the Exhibition Centre, so you can get yourself some local yum-yums and head on over to check out the people doing crazy acrobatics on really quiet, rhythmic horses. I wonder if they have a better sticky spray that they aren’t sharing….
The Prarie Racecourse is hosting the Para Equestrian Dressage, as well as the Carriage Driving. Why they did not choose to use the giant main arena for the Para event, I do not know. Perhaps it was overbooked? And, of course, the Endurance competition will be located away from the town in Mont Saint Michel, and partly in the bay itself!
The D’Ornano Stadium
However, most importantly you want to know about the cross country course at Le Haras du Pin, right? ME TOO. So here we have a quick snippet of Jean Teulère riding through one of the water complexes on their CCI3* course.
And last but not least….we have the official Normandy 2014 Preview video!!