This time next year, I’m hoping to be set up in Normandy, ready to enjoy my second round of World Equestrian Games. In preparation for the arrival of the 2014 WEGs, this week there is a round of test events for all disciplines, although at a lower level so we can save our top horses for next year. This is quite exciting, as it gives all of the countries a taste of what will be in store next year for the official competition.
The venue for the Eventing portion is the Haras du Pin national stud, as well as the local town of Caen. Locally known as the “Versailles for horses,” it was founded in the early 1700s by King Louis XIV, and boasts around 2,400 acres of equestrian paradise in the south of Normandy. It now exists to produce top level horses from different breeds and generally to educate horsemen and laymen alike on the various aspects of the equestrian pursuits.
The CCI2* will take place this weekend, August 16-18. Our competition will be organized in a similar way to next year’s competition, as the Dressage and Cross Country portions will be at Haras du Pin, and the Show Jumping will happen in a bigger arena in the nearby town of Caen. Haras du Pin has built a brand new cross country course designed by Pierre Michelet, which will be very exciting for the various competitors this weekend to experience. For more information on the venues, check out my sneak preview from last fall — photos and videos abounding! [Normandy Sneak Preview]
The U.S. is only represented by one rider, Liz Halliday riding her own HHS Cooley. While I don’t know much about Liz, I do feel like she is the perfect woman for the job because she seems like a very focused and driven individual. Plus, she’s a professional race car driver (what?!).
From Liz’s website: “33-year-old Californian Liz Halliday is a unique sportswoman. Now based in Sussex, England, Liz has dedicated her life to the pursuit of not one, but two international sporting careers. On the one hand she is an international motor racing driver who competes in sportscar and GT endurance racing; on the other, she is an international equestrian in Three-Day Eventing. Liz has two lofty ambitions: to become the first female driver to win the world famous Le Mans 24 Hour race and to claim a place on the U.S. Olympic equestrian team.” Liz has been very successful in her Eventing career in England, and we wish her all the best of luck!
All in all, there are 20 countries sending representatives to test the water. As for other notable entrants, Australia is sending three competitors: Chris Burton on Graf Liberty, Andrew Hoy on Cheeky Calimbo and Kevin McNab on Casperelli. Fellow North Americans Jessica Phoenix with A Little Romance and Lindsay Traisnel on Candar Van Het Neerveld will be representing Canada. France wins the hometown advantage, sending eight competitors, while Britain is only sending two with Piggy French on Westwood Mariner and Gemma Tattersall on Tropique. Of course, we can’t overlook the New Zealand team, with Jonathan Paget competing on Shady Grey and Lucy Jackson on Mercury Bay. Check out the full entry list below.
And of course, a video preview of the action!