Preparations for the 2022 World Championships are ramping up as organisers focus on the legacy the events will have on the sport, environment and host cities.
The eventing World Championships test event starts today (12 May) at Pratoni, where the championships run from 15–18 September. Pratoni, which was built for the 1960 Rome Olympics, is also hosting the driving (22–24 September).
“All the sport facilities will be ready, there will of course be upgrades to be made on the commercial side before the championships. But the sport will be there ready for you to be tested properly,” said Simone Perillo, secretary general of the Italian equestrian federation at the FEI sports forum (25–26 April).
He added that €3m (£2.56m) has been invested into the venue and it is “ready to welcome” people from “all over the world”.
It has received more than 140 volunteer applications, has planted 50 oak trees and will be supporting Willberry Wonder Pony and the World Wide Fund for Nature.
“The planning looks very good,” Mr Perillo added.
Casper Cassøe, chief executive of operations, and Jens Trabjerg, chief executive of sport, spoke about the legacy they hope the Herning World Championships will have.
“From the start, we have the ambition to make the best for the athletes, the grooms and the horses. At the same time, we want to make sure everyone visiting has memories for life,” said Mr Trabjerg. “For the future, we are trying to make a new benchmark, raising the bar.”
He added that their intention is to “do something new, something different, to open up to a bigger market” and he has “promised” the event itself will be CO2 neutral.
The event has hired professionals to focus on the sustainability side on all aspects of the championships – for example, ensuring dressage huts are made from recycled wood. It is also encouraging and aiding in offsetting transport-related CO2.
“When we do events like this, there’s a huge amount of transport. Horses, riders and all others coming to the show, and spectators. We will try to find a way to offer them the possibility to be a part of the solution,” he added.
“Next month, we will plant a forest in Herning, 20 hectares, and it’s going to be the legacy, the world championship forest, and a place where the citizens of Herning can go and enjoy and see why it’s a clever decision from the city to support horse shows.”
Ticket sales are at 70% of the event’s target, sponsorship is at 95%, and the championships have 1,000 volunteers – including 38% from overseas – already signed up.
Mr Cassøe said the focus has been on producing a financially sustainable event, as well as ensuring it is sustainable in other ways.
Progress is also being made on preparations for the endurance championships at Verona, Italy.
“We are waiting for you in Verona, the city of love, that loves horses,” said executive coordinator Maria Baleri.
You might also be interested in:
Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.