Mill Spring, N.C. – Sept. 11, 2018 – With Hurricane Florence slated to make landfall on the east coast of the United States later this week, attendees and participants of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ are on alert regarding the upcoming weather and how it may affect proceedings over the next two weeks of competition. Sharon Decker, COO of the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC), and Sabrina Ibáñez, Secretary General of Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) addressed the media Tuesday afternoon to review the current contingency plan for the Games. Both Decker and Ibáñez stressed that the safety of horses, athletes, attendees and all other personnel is the top priority. Distributed by the Tryon Organising Committee, the public address regarding the contingency plan reads as such:
“We have an onsite weather station here at TIEC and the National Weather Service is providing us with weather updates every six hours. If Hurricane Florence, which is currently forecast to stay to the east of the WEG venue, should change course we will receive much more frequent alerts so that we can advise you of any severe weather forecast for the Tryon region.
We already have robust contingency plans in place for use in the event of severe weather conditions and this includes sheltering plans for personnel and horses.
There are 1,188 permanent stalls onsite and all barns are built in conformance with the International Building Code to withstand winds up to 90mph (144kph), so the horses are in the safest place here on-site. TIEC became a refuge for horses from five states ahead of Hurricane Irma in August/September last year.
We are working with the USDA to ensure that, in the event of extreme weather, all horses in PAQ will be stabled in Barn 5, not in the tent extension.
We are working with three different electrical suppliers and have numerous generators on-site. We also have two high-volume wells on property, both of which are attached to the emergency generators and which supply drinkable water.
For personnel, there are multiple sheltering options on-site to ensure human safety.
In the event of severe weather that will impact TIEC, the contingency plan will include:
• Accommodating all horses on-venue in permanent barns
• Moving grooms accommodated on-site to permanent buildings on-venue
• Advising on secure sheltering locations for all personnel
• Continuing discussions with airports and Emirates airline (through Peden Bloodstock/Dutta Corporation) on any necessary steps regarding horse arrivals/departures.
• Ensuring smaller tents in vendor area are tie-strapped together for security (large tents are designed to withstand winds of up to 90mph)
• Carrying out additional drainage/water channeling
• Purchasing additional fuel tanks and fill all fuel tanks
• Preparing to remove fence scrim already installed
• Taking down flags
Any decision on delays to competitions or potential cancellation, would be made in accordance with FEI General Regulations, Article 109.12: Subject to the unanimous agreement of the President of the Ground Jury, Technical Delegate and President of the Veterinary Committee in consultation with the Organiser, a Competition (either before or during) can be postponed and/or cancelled, not only due to force majeure, catastrophic occurrences, extreme weather conditions but also for non-compliance with FEI Rules and in specific situations where the welfare or safety of the Horses, Athletes, Officials or the public is compromised.”
In addition to the contingency plan, Decker and Ibáñez further stated that all tickets will be honored at the appropriate time should any competitions be rescheduled or postponed. They were also optimistic about the footing in the arenas, stating that it is “scientifically proven to be the best” and drainage should not be a major concern.
For immediate National Weather Service updates, text “WEG2018” to 888777 (US phones only) or check out the Tryon2018.com website and on Facebook and Twitter at @Tryon2018. Any potential updates to schedules and programming will also be posted to the Tryon WEG channels.