Will the World Equestrian Games return to Kentucky?

McLain Ward and Sapphire
McLain Ward and Sapphire were among the American competitors who competed on home turf at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. U.S. riders could get another chance to do so in 2018. Photo: Leslie Potter

When Kentucky hosted the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), it was the first time the games were held outside of Europe since their beginning in 1990. The WEG will return to Europe in 2014 with the Normandy, France games, but with new information on the cities in contention for the 2018 hosting gig, another North American run appears likely.

When bidding for the 2018 WEG began, the city of Bromont in Quebec, Canada appeared to come out on top. The other cities in contention had withdrawn their bids prior to the FEI’s July meeting. However, the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) required prospective host cities to provide information on public financial support, and the Canadian delegation was unable to do so. As a result, the FEI reopened the bidding process, encouraging the Bromont bid to try again.

Yesterday, the FEI announced that along with Bromont, three other applications had been received for the 2018 games: Wellington, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; and a to-be-determined city in Great Britain.

Great Britain has never hosted a WEG, but with a deeply rooted equestrian culture and a successful London Olympics in its recent past, it could be a strong candidate. Because the majority of WEG competitors come from European countries, hosting a games there has the advantage of easier travel for most competing horses.

Wellington had been an early bidder in the first round of the 2018 selection process, but had to withdraw its bid due to city opposition to new construction of equestrian facilities. The community has significant equestrian infrastructure and a history of international-level competitions thanks to its long-running winter show circuit. However, it will have to overcome its own local politics in order to host a successful games.

If Lexington is selected, it would be the first city to host the games twice. No major construction would be required as the facilities were already built or improved in time for the 2010 games. Alltech, the title sponsor of the 2010 and 2014 games, is headquartered in the greater Lexington area, which may give the city some added pull.

Bromont—officially Bromont/Montreal for the purposes of the WEG bid—would be the first Canadian city to host the WEG. Bromont was the location for the equestrian events of the 1976 Olympics, and is currently the home of the annual Bromont CCI***, a major three-day eventing competition.

The deadline for the bid applications is Nov. 15, and the official candidate cities will be announced on Dec. 2. The candidates will then give a formal presentation at the FEI’s spring 2014 meeting, and the host city will be announced after the conclusion of that meeting.



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