Dressage, para-dressage and reining kick off the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, on Mon., Aug. 25, following opening ceremonies on Sat., Aug. 23. The quadrennial competition takes place in Normandy, France.
A single day of team and individual competition in endurance are set for Thurs., Aug. 28. That same Thursday, eventing begins with two days of the dressage phase, then cross-country and stadium jumping to close that discipline on Sun., Aug. 31.
Show jumping gets underway with the individual and team first round, based on speed, on Tues., Sept. 2 and concludes with the always-exciting horse-swapping final four for individual gold on Sun., Sept. 7.
Vaulting is Tuesday through Friday, Sept. 2-5, and combined driving runs Thurs., Sept. 4 through Sun., Sept. 7. In the midst of all that, exhibition sports, horse ball and polo, get exposure via display matches held throughout the WEG schedule.
Check out the timetable below to stay on top of your favorite discipline's action, keeping in mind that Normandy is nine hours ahead of California time.
Where to watch the WEG may be a bit trickier to figure out.
The International Equestrian Federation's FEI-TV was the only sure bet we could find as of press time. This is live-streamed coverage over the internet, available for subscribers. The WEG event website lists Universal Sports as the U.S. TV broadcast outlet for the Games, but the cable channel did not have any further info about this at press time. USEF Network's director of content, William Wood, Jr., suggested readers stayed tuned to www.usefnetwork.com for the latest on WEG coverage and for updates from the competition once it's underway.
While the selection processes were still underway in most WEG disciplines as we went to press, some riders had locked in their spots and others looked very likely to make their teams.
West Coast riders will be well represented on the dressage team, thanks to Steffen Peters and Legolas 92 earning a spot by virtue of their win of the National Grand Prix championships in June. Steffen had to miss a final preparation in Aachen, Germany in late July, after being hospitalized with pneumonia, but hopes are he'll be better and back in the saddle for the WEG.
The other rider with an assured WEG berth is Laura Graves, the Florida-based international newcomer who wowed the industry with her second place finish at the USET Festival of Champions to earn a berth.
Ketchum, ID-based Adrienne Lyle and Wizard look very good to make the squad, and Florida-based Tina Konyot and Caroline Roffman, who filled in for Steffen and Legolas at the Aachen CDI, are most likely to round out the team.
Sorry to report that West Coast favorites Jan Ebeling and Rafalca bowed out of WEG contention after earning the number three spot on the shortlist. But when the 17 year old Rubinstein mare was deemed "not fit to compete" in the first of two European selection outings, the Ebelings and Rafalca's ownership partners opted to bow out rather than risk injury.
Lucy Davis was the only West Coaster to make the 10-member short list for show jumping, which was determined in April. Mandatory outings this summer are paring the team down to four horse/rider pairs, plus an alternate, from a shortlist that includes youngsters and veterans: Kent Farrington, Reed Kessler, Beezie Madden, McLain Ward, Charlie Jayne, Lauren Hough, Jessica Springsteen, Katie Dinan and Margie Engle – and Lucy.
The eventing team was named mid-June and it's an all East Coaster squad of Buck Davidson, Phillip Dutton, Sinead Halpin, Boyd Martin, Kim Severson and Lynn Symansky.