The trot-up for the Mars-sponsored eventing at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) is scheduled for 2pm on Sunday, 15 September with the showjumping on Monday (16 September).
The bad weather associated with Hurricane Florence has forced major issues at WEG, including the cancellation of the Helgstrand-sponsored dressage freestyle, which was due to run tomorow (Sunday).
It was announced on Friday night that the eventing showjumping would be moving from Sunday to Monday — believed to be a first at a major eventing championship — and on Saturday evening in the press conference after cross-country, eventing discipline director Jim Wolf said the trot-up would be likely to happen on Sunday. The time of 3pm was announced just before 10pm on Saturday, before being changed to 2pm on Monday morning.
“We have no intention of cancelling the competition — it’s likely we’ll have to jump on Monday and have a horse inspection but we’re going to finish this thing,” said Jim at the press conference.
FEI eventing director Catrin Norinder added: “We have to finish, this is Olympic qualification for the [top six] teams, we will try to make it happen. The freestyle was cancelled because horses need to go home. We will finish this competition with showjumping.”
The European dressage horses are scheduled to fly home on Monday, which was a factor in it not being possible to re-arrange their freestyle to that day, while the eventing horses are scheduled to fly home on Tuesday anyway, making this new schedule feasible.
Catrin and Jim did not answer the original question posed, which was whether medals would be awarded to the cross-country leaders if it was impossible to run the showjumping.
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“I’m not sure how it’ll be jumping on Monday — I’ve never jumped a horse on Monday [after a three-day],” said British rider Tom McEwen. “It’s great they took the decision so early and the horses may come up a bit fresher, depending on the weather and what we can do tomorrow.”
US rider Lynn Symansky was among the riders who said that an extra day may actually not be advantageous for horses: “If you go out and run a really long race, you can have more muscle fatigue two days later. Part of horses’ care after cross-country is to keep them moving which may not be easy with the storm.”
But New Zealand rider Jonelle Price said: “I think it’s absurd. It really worries me who’s calling these shots, maybe I’ll be made to eat my words if it’s absolutely pouring tomorrow but I think it completely changes the game. The whole point of jumping on the day after cross-country is it’s the horse that can recover the best and come out and close their stride and be careful. Giving them an extra day is a whole different kettle of fish.
“So here and now I think it’s really sad and I really hope that it is as bad as they say it is come tomorrow otherwise it’s going to look very stupid for our sport.”
Keep up to date with all the latest from WEG onand read our full eventing report in Horse & Hound next week (20 September issue).