The United States Equestrian Federation is going head-to-head with France in its attempt to host the first World Equestrian Games outside Europe in 2010.
The decision on the final location of the 2010 WEG will be made at an FEI meeting in Bahrain on Tuesday 6 December. Normandy, Kentucky and Dubai were all serious contenders as locations for the four-yearly event, but only France and America have been invited to make final proposals to the FEI.
With the vast purpose-built Kentucky Horse Park at the centre of their bid, the USEF are favourites to follow in the footsteps of Aachen, which is currently preparing for the 2006 WEG.
Previous hosts of the Games have included Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. Should Kentucky get the nod, it will be the first time that all seven competitions — show jumping, dressage, eventing, driving, endurance, vaulting and reining — will be hosted at a single venue.
“There is no place in the world like the Kentucky Horse Park,” said the park’s executive director, John Nicholson. “Never before have the World Equestrian Games been held at a single location. That can happen here.”
***correction 5.12.05: The FEI says that WEG competitions have always hosted the seven disciplines at a single venue. ***
If America is successful, the 2010 World Equestrian Games will be the largest single sporting event ever held in Kentucky, with an estimated attendance of more than 300,000 over a two-week period.
The French bid is based in the Basse-Normandie region, which is a successful equine breeding centre and is home to some 55,000 horses. The region hosts several international competitions every year and has produced many top riders and horses including French world champions Eric Levallois, Eric Navel and Reynald Ango.
Meanwhile, in the wake of London’s successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, the British Equestrian Federation is undertaking a feasibility study before deciding whether to apply to host the 2014 WEG.
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