Slovakia’s Samorin and USA’s Tryon in Consideration for WEG 2018

Aerial view of Samorin in Slovakia. Photo © Samorin Equestrian Centre. Aerial view of Samorin in Slovakia. Photo © Samorin Equestrian Centre.

It’s been more than a month since the FEI terminated Bromont’s contract to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games due to financial woes, and the FEI told EN that the bureau will not officially re-open the bid process.

“Given the short timeframe, the FEI Bureau has decided not to re-open the bid process for the 2018 Games and has mandated the President Ingmar De Vos to work on an alternative,” an FEI spokesperson said.

The FEI confirmed two venues have expressed interest in hosting the 2018 WEG. Tryon International Equestrian Center, which will host the Nutrena American Eventing Championships next week, announced on Aug. 2 that the North Carolina venue will seek to keep WEG in North America. (Click here for a sneak peek of Capt. Mark Phillips’ new cross country course.)

Tryon will host its first FEI horse trials in April 2017 when The Fork moves to the venue. The facility is already dazzling thousands of spectators with show jumping competitions at the CSI3*, CSI4* and CSI5* levels, and Tryon also hosted its first CDI3* dressage show earlier this year. Mark Bellissimo has made it clear he has big plans for eventing at Tryon, including a possible bid for a four-star in the future.

The Samorin Equestrian Centre in Slovakia is also under consideration for WEG. The venue, built by Slovakian businessman Mario Hoffmann, hosted the FEI European Endurance Championships last year and will also stage the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships next month.

Samorin has hosted FEI show jumping and endurance since 2014 and added dressage in 2015, with a CDI3* scheduled for July 2017. The venue also held a CSIO3* Nations Cup leg last month, which the U.S. sent a team to as part of the USEF Show Jumping Development Tour. FEI eventing will come to the venue next year, as Samorin has been approved to host a CCI3* on Sept. 7-10, 2017.

Like Tryon, the facility at Samorin is impressive. Mario Hoffmann consulted the visionary team at Aachen when designing Samorin, and photos of the facility mirror many of the same grandiose features of Aachen.

One potential roadblock for Tryon is the venue’s partnership with Rolex as a major sponsor. The Kentucky Horse Park was already denied WEG back in 2014 due to a commercial conflict between Rolex, a key sponsor of the Lexington venue, and Longines, the official timekeeper of the FEI.

Samorin does not face the same commercial conflict. In addition, Samorin has shown the venue can roll with the punches when it comes to quickly staging a major event, accepting the Longines FEI World Endurance Championships just three months ahead of the event after it was removed from Dubai due to horse welfare concerns.

The FEI spokesperson could not confirm whether any venues beyond Tryon and Samorin are being considered at this time. “If other organizers contact the FEI to express an interest in hosting the Games, they will be asked to provide the information through their National Federation. The FEI will be in a position to provide more details shortly.”

What do you think, EN? Would you like to see the 2018 WEG hosted at Tryon or Samorin? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below.