Yesterday marked the 30-day countdown to the opening ceremony of the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, and Team USA has been hard at work in training camp this week in preparation for the WEG Prep Trials in The Plains, Va., which will start Saturday morning.
More than 3,000 tickets have been sold for the event, so it’s going to be packed with spectators eager to get a glimpse of the U.S. team that will hopefully bring a team medal back to the States for the first time since 2002, when John Williams, Kim Severson, David O’Connor and Amy Tryon won team gold in Jerez, Spain.
Jessica Phoenix and Selena O’Hanlon will also represent Canada at this weekend’s WEG prep trials. Fellow Canadian WEG team member Hawley Bennett-Awad will be competing in Montana in the Rebecca Farm CIC3* with Gin & Juice. Selena and Hawley both rode on the 2010 WEG silver medal team for Canada.
Ride times were posted last night. Dressage will start at 8 a.m. Saturday morning to beat the heat. Riders will perform FEI CCI4* Test B under the watchful eye of judge Sandy Phillips; the same test will be used in Normandy. Hannah Sue Burnett and Harbour Pilot will kick off the day, and Buck Davidson and Ballynoe Castle RM will be the last pair in the little white box at 10:21 a.m.
Jimmy Wofford will lead a course walk at noon, unveiling the new track designed by David O’Connor and constructed by former Rolex course building assistant Aaron Rust. The course will be set at Advanced height but shortened to less than six minutes in length with a pace of 570 meters per minute.
After the course walk, there will be a gap in the action until the VIP dinner reception starts at 5 p.m., with proceeds benefitting the Great Meadows Foundation and U.S. Equestrian Team. Then the action starts again at 7 p.m., when the riders take on Richard Jeffries’ show jumping course, which will be set at 1.30 meters.
After show jumping, be sure to stick around for the bareback puissance, which will start at 8:30 p.m. in the main arena with a cash prize of $1,000. There will also be a cash bar and dancing in the pavilion until 11:30 p.m.
The gates open at 8 a.m. Sunday morning, with cross country starting at 9 a.m. and lasting for about an hour. An awards presentation and press conference will follow. It will be a short competition but an exciting one!
Tickets are still available here. The cost is $30 for one day and $50 for a two-day pass, and you can bring your largest car to pack in all your friends since tickets are purchased per car load. Check out the promo video for the weekend below. Get excited!