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Dressage: a smooth-running success

After the two days of competition at d'Ornano Stadium, it is now "evaluation time" for the organisers, who seem very calm about welcoming the world’s ninety best dressage horses in less than two months. 

Dressage: a smooth-running success
© PSV Photos

The Dressage test events for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian GamesTM 2014 in Normandy have come to a close and the fifteen riders who competed in Caen are now back at home to prepare for forthcoming competitions, in a bid to be chosen to represent their country at the greatest equestrian event of the year. The winners of the Special Grand Prix and the Freestyle Grand Prix, the UK’s Carl Hester and Spain’s Cristobal Belmonte, are in agreement: the reception was faultless, the surfaces are remarkable, there is nothing bad to say.

These comments have clearly contributed to the good humour that prevails in the organisers’ camp, though their focus is still firmly set on the mission in hand: to pay attention to detail and plan for all eventualities so that everything is ready for the main event.

Didier Ferrer, the Organising Committee’s head of dressage, says that “the assessment is a positive one. We organised a very high level international competition from scratch. With regard to facilities, everything was set up for the event; the teams didn’t all know one another before the start of the events and we rose to the challenge. We put ourselves in a real Games situation with regard to receiving the horses, the officials, the set-up of the stables, etc. The thing that will change the most for the main event is the number of horses, which will go from 16 to 90, but there will also be a lot more of us on duty during the Games to ensure that everything runs smoothly.”

These Dressage test events were supervised at all levels. The Chairman of the Organising Committee, Fabien Grobon, was bowled over by the discipline. “It’s a really magical discipline and the horses are exceptional. We are pleased with what we’ve seen over the past two days at D’Ornano Stadium. This is the first stage in a series of aspects that will be tested. We will be able to make a proper review after talking with the federations and teams. I would also like to mention that there are still tickets available for this discipline during the Games. It’s a great event for those who know the sport, but also for those who don’t. People are always really amazed by the spectacular beauty of the horses and get to see them as genuine athletes in top physical form!”

Laurent Cellier, Director of Sports, added that “the test events have met our expectations. These aren’t yet the Games, but we can identify needs and test out certain points, including the quality of the arena surface, results management, technology and the volunteers who hold key jobs in the programme. The standard is as we hoped, even if we do have some improvements to make. One positive thing is that the horses’ well-being, which is our main priority at both the Games and these test events, has been completely respected. This is crucial, and it motivates us to continue our efforts in this area. We’ve also had very good feedback from the riders on the quality of the surfaces, which is also very important. Now we just have to smooth out the details to ensure that we’re producing a high-level event. These test events are an important step along the road to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian GamesTM 2014 in Normandy, so we're still focusing on what’s to come.”

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