The Kentucky Horse Park, which hosted the 2010 World Equestrian Games in Lexington, has dropped its bid fro the 2022 FEI World Equestrian Games.
Since the only other bidder was Samorin, Slovakia, that facility looks like the winner.
The Kentucky Horse Park needs $12 million in improvements.
“We are committed to being good stewards of the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Tandy Patrick, chair of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission. “We do not think it would be economically feasible for the park to host the 2022 games.”
The international equestrian federation (FEI) likes to spread its championships around, so having two WEGs in a row in the U.S. would have run contrary to that precept. The 2018 WEG will be held at the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Tryon, N.C. There has never been a WEG in Eastern Europe, which is a nice feature for Slovakia.
The Slovakian entry is an exciting new venue that presented the world endurance championships this year. It was also in the running for the 2018 Games that went to Tryon after the original winner of the 2018 nod, Bromont, Quebec, withdraw when financial issues couldn’t be solved. By 2022, there will be more facilities at Samorin (it’s missing an eventing cross-country course at the moment). It’s location little more than an hour’s drive from Vienna also is a plus.
The first WEG in 1990 was held in Stockholm. There were only six disciplines showcased then, but the one-venue approach enabled people to experience a variety of different horse sports. The WEG was not supposed to be held every four years when it started (it took the place of independent world championships every four years in the Olympic sports) but it went so well that the concept continued. Subsequent WEGs had varying degrees of success, but the FEI considers this championship an important asset and as such it will continue.
In addition to the Olympic disciplines, the WEG includes four-in-hand driving, endurance, reining, vaulting and para-dressage. Those sports also have independent world championships in addition to the WEG, so they have title meets every two years.