Mark Bellissimo, the show organizer of the 2018 World Equestrian Games, has issued a letter of apology for the under construction status of the venue in Tryon, N.C.. Especially major concern has been raised about the non-availability of on-site groom quarters, which were promised due to the remoteness of the location from major hotels.
The odds seem quite against Tryon, which substituted for Bromont that pulled out after financial issues two years ago.
Despite the construction works still in progress at the venue, the opening ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday 11 September, a memorable date for Americans. Furthermore Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas on Thursday with heavy rain forecast Thursday-Friday during Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special day.
Personal Statement from Mark Bellissimo Regarding Grooms' Accommodations
I made a personal commitment to housing grooms on-site and I underestimated the demand. I was too optimistic. I made a mistake and I apologize. We are doing everything we can to rectify the situation.
Our organization has always been committed to recognizing the importance of grooms. They are a critical component to the success and well-being of these equine athletes and we have the utmost respect for their daily work. We introduced an award three years ago across all of our venues recognizing and honoring grooms during the prize giving ceremony supported by a monetary prize and we plan to do the same here at the FEI World Equestrian Games Tryon 2018.
Without our grooms there would be no equestrian sport. You have my word that we will resolve all issues related to the grooms accommodations.
We at TIEC, and the FEI, have enormous respect for the grooms and the vital work that they do. It is our greatest commitment to ensure the safety and well-being of the horses competing and the individuals who are responsible for their care.
Unfortunately, our plan for all grooms’ accommodations to be on-site could not meet the demand, but our team is working proactively and around the clock to improve the situation and ensure that all accommodations and personal needs are met.
We have made multiple options available and are offering on-site Residential Vehicles (RVs), and twobed cabins with toilet and shower, and off-site accommodations at Rumbling Bald Resort, 35-minutes away with multiple daily shuttles provide.
We were asked by the National Federations to provide more on-site options and explored providing, as a very temporary solution, air-conditioned dormitory tents with showers and bathrooms provided close by until more RVs and cabins are available. However, this option has clearly not met our stringent standards. We are aware that it is not viable in the long-term and are urgently seeking alternatives.
We also are offering financial compensation to National Federations for any accommodations secured off site and many National Federations have chosen this option.
In addition, there is an on-site grooms’ lounge where they can relax in a comfortable environment.
The National Federations and the FEI are working extremely closely with our team to ensure that our grooms are treated with the respect they deserve and given the opportunity to choose an environment that suits them and their horses best.
- Mark Bellissimo
Eurodressage Coverage of the 2018 World Equestrian Games