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World Equestrian Games are threatened by hurricane Florence

TRYON, N.C.--Hurricane Florence is bearing down on North Carolina, with landfall expected Thursday evening, and, according to Accuweather, Tryon is in the area which will receive the highest impact from the category 4 storm, where high winds and catastrophic flooding is expected.

According to a member of the media staff, there are over 700 competition horses in Tryon, but this does not count the demonstration horses for the World Equine Expo.

There are 900 permanent stalls, and those competition horses that were stabled in tents have already been moved to the permanent stalls, so all competition horses, at least, are in permanent stalls.

Laura Graves on Verdades Feb. 9Laura Graves on Verdades will be competing for the U.S. in dressageAn evacuation plan is in place, as well as shelter-in-place safety measures being taken.

More will be known about all of this after a 5 p.m. press briefing.

One question is whether the WEG would stop competition for the duration of the storm and then add days on after Sept. 23 to complete competition.

Competition at the WEG begins Wednesday, and the first two days should be all right.

Endurance runs 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 Wednesday, so that is safe and horses could even be shipped out before the storm hits.

For dressage, the team competition begins on Wednesday and ends Thursday with medals awarded at 6 p.m., and the first and second individual qualifiers will have been completed.

For reining, team competition is on Wednesday, with medals awarded at 8:45 p.m., and the first and second individual qualifiers are Wednesday and Thursday, with the individual finals scheduled for Saturday.

Eventing begins Thursday with the first competition for both team and individual medals.

But, not only is this a huge, category 4 hurricane, Florence is also expected to stall after it makes landfall, so for how long high winds and heavy rains continue is a huge question.

The footing in the competition areas is reported to be very good with excellent drainage, but that area has never borne the brunt of a storm like Florence.

Updates on conditions and plans will be posted after the 5 p.m. press briefing.



Alix Coleman

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