Your guide to the eight equestrian sports that will be showcased in Tryon, North Carolina in September...
Fans can experience the full variety and colour of equestrian sports when the World Equestrian Games (WEG) take place in Tryon, North Carolina in September.
All eight disciplines will be on show at the event, which runs from September 11-23.
With tickets available right now for as little as $20, here’s a guide to the eight disciplines – Dressage, Driving, Endurance, Eventing, Jumping, Para-Dressage, Reining and Vaulting – that will be on show.
First up, let's look at Reining, a fast-paced, frenetic discipline reminiscent of the Wild West as riders are rewarded for their horse-handling skills. The video below shows some of the world's top stars in action, and explains the rules and what to expect...
Reining is a judged event designed to show the athletic ability of a ranch type horse in the confines of a show arena.
In Reining competitions, contestants are required to run one of several approved patterns which are divided into seven or eight manoeuvre groups.
Each pattern includes small slow circles, large fast circles, flying lead changes, rollbacks over the hocks, a series of 360 degree spins done in place, and the exciting sliding stops that are the hallmark of the reining horse.
When to watch: The Team event takes place on September 12. The Individual competition begins on September 13, with the medals awarded the following day. Find out more about how to secure tickets for this amazing spectacle by clicking here.
An Olympic discipline, Dressage is therefore one of the best-known and most celebrated of equestrian sports.
Dressage is often compared to ballet, with a scoring system similar to ice skating. The harmonious connection between the human and equine athletes allows each pair to perform an intricate pattern of movements for which they receive scores from a seven-member judging panel.
Dressage will be held in the new 20,000-seat stadium at the Tryon International Equestrian Center and feature three classes: the Grand Prix, Grand Prix Special, and the highlight, the Grand Prix Freestyle.
The Freestyle is performed to music of the rider’s choice and spectators can expect to see incredibly complicated choreography performed in unison with the music.
When to watch: Dressage begins on Wednesday, September 12, and concludes with the Individual Final on Sunday, September 16.
Derived from ancient chariot racing, Driving is a thrilling sport for both competitors and spectators. It involves a carriage pulled by four horses.
Driving begins with the Dressage phase, in which combinations must complete a learned test, judged on their accuracy and unison.
Following Dressage is Marathon, where you will get a taste of what wild chariot races must have felt like, as you watch a four-in-hand carriage navigate in and out of tight corners and turns, known as obstacles, in a race against the clock.
Driving concludes with the Cones phase, which tests the accuracy and speed of each four-in-hand combination, as they navigate through cones with precisely placed tennis-ball like objects on top. If riders knock a ball off a cone, they accrue additional penalty points.
When to watch: Driving offers Team and Individual medals. It begins on Friday, September 21 and concludes with the Cones and Medal Ceremony on Sunday, September 23. Find out more about how to secure tickets for WEG 2018 by clicking here.
Endurance is a long-distance competition against the clock. It tests the speed and stamina of both horse and rider and challenges each combination to ensure an effective use of pace and navigational skills of undulating terrains.
Endurance is the ultimate test of the partnership between horse and rider. Mandatory vet checks and rest periods are a key aspect of the competition and ensure horse and rider welfare throughout the 100-mile test.
When to watch: Endurance opens the competition at WEG 2018, beginning at 7am on Wednesday, September 12. The Medal Ceremony takes place the following day.
The ultimate test of a rider's and horse's skills-set, Eventing, an Olympic discipline, is often dubbed the "triathlon of equestrianism".
It is a formidable combination of Dressage, Cross-country, and Jumping, done over three days and with the same horse for each phase of competition.
Eventing is a sport that tests both the horse and rider in all aspects of horsemanship and athleticism. Renowned designer Captain Mark Phillips is the Cross-country course designer for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018.
When to watch: Eventing Dressage takes place on September 13-14, with Cross-country on Saturday, September 15. The competition, which awards both Team and Individual medals, concludes with the Jumping phase on Sunday, September 16. Find out more about how to secure tickets for Eventing and the other disciplines by clicking here.
Jumping is an Olympic sport where a horse and athlete jump a series of 1.6m fences in an arena setting, while attempting to leave all the obstacles in place without knocking any of them to the ground.
If a rider does knock a fence down, they amass four penalties (“faults”) per fence.
Riders who navigate the first-round track without accumulating any faults, will move forward to the jump-off, which is a head-to-head competition to see who can complete the shortened course in the fastest time, without adding faults.
Past winners of the Jumping competition at WEG include Eric Navet, Franke Sloothaak, Rodrigo Pessoa, and 2014 champion Jeroen Dubbeldam.
When to watch: Jumping offers Team and Individual medals. Round 1 is on Wednesday, September 19, with the Team event concluding on September 21 and Individual final wrapping up the competition at WEG 2018 on the afternoon of September 23.
Para-dressage is conducted under the same basic rules as conventional Dressage, but with riders divided into different competition grades based on functional abilities.
Athletes competing in Para-dressage are required to perform specific tests dependent on their classification, which encompass different levels of movements, similarly to classical Dressage. Tests will include movements at the walk, trot, and canter, some at just the walk and trot, while others are judged at the walk.
When to watch: Individual competition takes place on Tuesday, September 18 to Wednesday, September 19, with Team events on September 20-21. The Freestyle is on September 22.
For gymnastics enthusiasts, Vaulting is a sister sport, but on the back of a horse.
All Vaulting routines—team, individual, and freestyle—are performed on the back of a cantering horse, traveling in a circle and attached to a lunge line.
Competitors are judged on their ability to smoothly execute compulsory movements demonstrating strength, flexibility, and balance during their routines. The horses are an important part of the team and, like the human gymnasts, are also judged on their performance.
Vaulting at WEG features Men's, Women's, Pas de Deux and Team competitions.
When to watch: Competition begins on Tuesday, September 18, with the Team Freestyle (Including Pas de Deux Freestyle) the following day. The Individual Technical, Squad Freestyle and Pas de Deux Freestyle is on September 21, with the Individual and Squad Freestyle on September 22.
The FEI World Equestrian Games ™ 2018 takes place in Tryon, North Carolina from September 11-23. Find out more about how to secure tickets for this incredible event by clicking here.