Botched World Equestrian Games endurance event called off after heavy rains in North Carolina create unsafe conditions
The endurance event of the World Equestrian Games set to be held in Tryon, North Carolina, was called off due to heavy rains after the beginning was botched by volunteers, who led participants in the wrong direction.
Tryon, United States: The opening-day endurance event of the World Equestrian Games was canceled by Heat and humidity following heavy rain on Wednesday after organizers sent several riders off in the wrong direction.
The endurance race, the first event in the quadrennial equine sports festival that runs through 23 September, was initially to take place over 160 kilometers. But several riders were led the wrong way by stewards and volunteers, forcing the organizers to stop the race after 40 km and plans were made to finish the competition over 120 km.
That idea, however, was scuttled by heavy rain that left steamy and unsafe conditions for horses and riders along the trail. "This was a difficult decision to make, but it was done with horse and athlete welfare in mind," said Thomas Timmons, president of the veterinary commission.
"Conditions this afternoon after the rain resulted in extremely high levels of humidity and, combined with rising heat, it was deemed unsafe to continue the ride," Timmons added.
The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) said it would investigate the circumstances surrounding the misdirection of horses and riders. The event had been originally scheduled for Bromont, Canada, but final funding was not approved and organizers withdrew.
Tryon, a North Carolina village of 1,650 west of Charlotte, took up the torch in July 2016 under the leadership of Mark Bellissimo, an owner of equestrian centers and organizer of equestrian events. The event could be hit by more heavy rain and winds from Hurricane Florence, which is scheduled to make landfall later this week on the coastal areas of the state.
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