An extraordinary equestrian event

Aug 26, 2018 - 9:00 PM

In western North Carolina’s horse country, the historic small town of Tryon and surrounding communities are about to be put on the global map. The FEI World Equestrian Games, which will take place here from September 11 to 23, are expected to draw 500,000 spectators. That would be the highest attendance figure for any sporting event in the U.S. this year.

About a thousand athletes and 1,500 horses from more than 70 nations will compete in eight equestrian disciplines at Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Springs. Spectators will see elegant movement and skilled performance in dressage, para-equestrian dressage, and vaulting, which has been described as gymnastics on horseback. The disciplines of jumping, reining, eventing, carriage driving, and endurance (considered the marathon of equestrian sport) will show a mix of high-octane sport, fitness, and technique. In addition to the competitions, exhibitions, trade booths, and games will highlight the enduring connection between horses and humans.

The quadrennial Games have previously been hosted in Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Germany, Kentucky, and most recently, France. A premier venue well prepared for this year’s influx, Tryon International Equestrian Center is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville and Charlotte, North Carolina, and Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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