Wednesday, September 01, 2010

WEG 2010: FIeld of 168

Horsebytes Blog - Monica Bretherton

The Alltech World Equestrian Games are galloping towards us, I was reminded last week, with less than thirty days to the opening ceremony. The official press release I received announced that there are 168 riders nominated for Endurance, representing 26 countries.

That's a full field. Granted, it will be narrowed down a little by September 20th, the day on which final entries will be announced - but not by all that much. 156 horses started at the WEG in Aachen in 2006.

The rules allow each country a team of 5, with the 3 top performances counting for the team effort. To have a team, you must have at least three horse and rider pairs. All team riders participating will be competing for individual placement as well, while some nations will only have individual riders.

Many countries have already announced their final teams: Australia, Belgium, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain and South Africa, among others. Because of the distances they will be traveling and the requirement for the horses to be in Kentucky for a quarantine period, with the first international horses arriving September 16th, there is not a lot of reason for continued suspense.

The Canadians have listed their nominations as team and alternates. The United States, however, is taking full advantage of being on their home continent by waiting until the last minute to make final team selections and their nominations are unranked. This will allow Chef d'Equipe Becky Hart to make strategic choices based not only on current horse condition and rider teamwork, but possibly even weighted by the expected weather on September 26th, race day. She is holding her cards very close...

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