The definitive day of judgement is yet to come for this World Equestrian Games (WEG). Will Tryon 2018 be a success — like Aachen 2006 — or will it go down as a blooper, like Caen 2014?
Tryon has had a rocky start. The endurance was, frankly, a fiasco, the venue is somewhat less than finished and Hurricane Florence is heading our way. But on the plus side, the dressage and eventing horses seem happy, riders have no complaints about important facilities such as arenas and stables and there’s already been some great sport. If Storm Flo can keep her effects to a minimum, Tryon could still pull this off.
Personally, I’m having a great time. Here are five reasons why:
1. Friends reunited. I love being part of the plain-speaking, sharp, funny pack of international journalists, photographers and national teams press attachés. Everyone has their own allegiances, their own deadlines, their own demanding jobs to fulfil, but there is always time for a quick chat and we all help each other out.
2. Venue layout. The media centre is on the ground floor of the building between the two main arenas and I can see the eventing dressage from my seat. The mixed zones, where we speak to riders, are not far away either. These things are life-changing in terms of how much we can see and write and do. My only complaint is that we don’t have a television in the mixed zone, leading to some tricky choices between watching and interviewing riders. It’s promised, so perhaps it’ll come today…
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3. British riders doing well. I was focused on eventing dressage yesterday and Gemma Tattersall, Piggy French and Tina Cook all made a strong start to their campaigns. And of course our dressage riders landed bronze in the tightest of battles — the different between bronze and an empty-handed fourth is huge and the margin this time was just 0.172. Gulp.
4. Food. You know I rarely blog without mentioning my food. This is my third WEG and the first of them at which the press have been given free food. And it’s good — a big buffet at breakfast, lunch and “afternoon snack”. Thank you, Tryon. The press corps marches on its stomach.
And then last night we went to a steakhouse and my sweet potato had cinnamon and honey on it. I know it’s wrong, but it’s so wrong it’s almost right. Yum.
5. Merchandise. I’m a sucker for merchandise and the stuff here is good. So I made it a priority to hit the superstore yesterday and max out my credit card.
PS. This list was going to have six items and number two was the fact the internet is working well. But when I pressed save on this blog, I lost it. So I didn’t feel inclined to be nice about technology second time round. I had to have a doughnut to console myself about having to re-write it (see point four above).