If you are reading this post, you are most likely a horse person*. And you most likely have been bombarded with information about the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games happening in Lexington, KY as I type. I know I was! One thing that struck me was how little non-horse people* knew about it. Many people didn’t even know it was going on, or had only a cursory knowledge of it. I got “Oh yeah, I think I’ve heard about that” when I mentioned it to people in the airport. My reaction every time was shock, as I’ve been so very well informed about it over the last year. However, I believe that by the time this event is over many more non-horse people will know what the World Equestrian Games are all about. This can only be a good thing for our community and more importantly, the horses we care for.
I just got back from my too short weekend at WEG and was thoroughly dazzled! The competitors were as elite as promised; their horses were as incredible. I wish I was still there! They did an incredible job showcasing each discipline, breed and the home countries of the visiting teams. It really felt like the Olympics.
I was lucky enough to attend the opening ceremonies with our VP of Operations, Bob P. We were both taken aback by the level of drama and showmanship.
Stacy Westfall did her impressive reining demo, riding around the ring without any tack at all. She backed her horse up, galloped around the ring changing directions and executed turnarounds as if she were riding in full tack.
The Friesian Train wowed the crowd with their showmanship and grace. Starting off with one performer, then two, then four and finally ten Friesians joined together in a syncopated routine. The crowd went crazy for them. It was hard not to!
Stunt riders Tommie Turvey and Dan James rode with only a lead around their necks and executed some difficult tricks. They were then joined by rider-less horses that matched their own horse in color. The stunt trainers had them doing tricks without touching them, in near perfect syncopation with the horse they were on. It showcased the tangible intelligence and personality of horses that we see in smaller ways every day.
The California Cowgirls put on an inspiring show as they rode through with full western togs. They passed close by each other with precision and pageantry in ever more hair raising patterns. They were joined by lasso experts Riata Cowboy girls who showed of their rope twirling skills, and lasso legend Vince Bruce kickin’ it up a notch or two in the center of the ring.
There were many more acts, 40 total, and I could write about them all day, but it might be better to just watch them yourself here:
I did bring a camera down to get some video and still shots, but I ended up leaving it there for the Absorbine employee that replaced me to use to make sure we got as much footage as possible. I’ll have some pictures to add to this post by the halfway point of the games. That is the plan anyway.
It is indeed a great time for American and international horse people* and the horses themselves.