WEG Opening ceremony & weather update

A lovely warm evening for the opening ceremony

It was a simple opening ceremony for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games tonight at Tryon, on a lovely evening.

Instead of having all the team members parade, tonight there was just one flag bearer from each nation.

Jonelle Price

For New Zealand, it was Jonelle Price who had the honour and she did a great job, giving that flag a good work out!

Proud husband Tim was in the stand waving his silver fern flag just about as much!

The rest of the team in the stand

The three parachuters did a great job, landing in the arena, with the last one carrying the large American flag. The US national anthem was sung beautifully by Emma Brooke. The Athlete Oath was made by Lynn Symansky (USA) and the Officials Oath by Anne Gribbons (USA). The event was declared open by FEI president Ingmar De Vos.

Laura Graves was the USA flag bearer

The athletes then left the field and the music began, with country singer Hunter Hayes being the headline act.

It was also great to catch up briefly with Andrew Bennie, who is on the Ground Jury for Eventing.

Andrew Bennie
Team NZ head into the Opening Ceremony (Image: Libby Law)

We also had a press conference where contingency plans were outlined should the weather worsen. Here is the full statement from FEI:

We have an onsite weather station here at the Tryon International Center (TIEC) and the National Weather Service is providing us with weather updates every six hours. If Hurricane Florence, which is currently forecast to stay to the east of the WEG venue, should change course we will receive much more frequent alerts so that we can advise you of any severe weather forecast for the Tryon region.

We already have robust contingency plans in place for use in the event of severe weather conditions and this includes sheltering plans for personnel and horses.

The weather is great tonight!

There are 1,288 permanent stalls onsite and all barns are built in conformance with the International Building Code to withstand winds up to 90mph (144kph), so the horses are in the safest place here on-site. TIEC became a refuge for horses from five states ahead of Hurricane Irma in August/September last year.

We are working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure that, in the event of extreme weather, all horses in Post-Arrival Quarantine will be stabled in Barn 5, not in the tent extension.

We are working with three different electrical suppliers and have numerous generators on- site. We also have two high-volume wells on property, both of which are attached to the emergency generators and which supply drinkable water.

For personnel, there are multiple sheltering options on-site to ensure human safety.
In the event of severe weather that will impact TIEC, the contingency plan will include:

  • Accommodating all horses on-venue in permanent barns
  • Moving grooms accommodated on-site to permanent buildings on-venue
  • Advising on secure sheltering locations for all personnel
  • Continuing discussions with airports and Emirates airline (through PedenBloodstock/Dutta Corporation) on any necessary steps regarding horsearrivals/departures.
  • Ensuring smaller tents in vendor area are tie-strapped together for security (largetents are designed to withstand winds of up to 90mph)
  • Carrying out additional drainage/water channeling
  • Purchasing additional fuel tanks and fill all fuel tanks
  • Preparing to remove fence scrim already installed
  • Taking down flags

Any decision on delays to competitions or potential cancellation, would be made in accordance with FEI General Regulations, Article 109.12: Subject to the unanimous agreement of the President of the Ground Jury, Technical Delegate and President of the Veterinary Committee in consultation with the Organiser, a Competition (either before or during) can be postponed and/or cancelled, not only due to force majeure, catastrophic occurrences, extreme weather conditions but also for non-compliance with FEI Rules and in specific situations where the welfare or safety of the Horses, Athletes, Officials or the public is compromised.