Behind the scenes at the Games: comfort and safety
The importance of the surface
For the main arena, white sand replaces turf. In order to get to the main arena from the warm-up rings, sand tracks bordered with white barriers have been created: the riders’ walkways. In the main warm-up ring, also known as the “ten-minute ring”, the same fibresand surface makes things more comfortable for the horses and enables them to optimise their performance. These facilities are essential, and required a lot of work. “In the warm-up ring, for example, there is a 40cm layer of sand in the middle and 30cm at the edges. This slight slope enables any water to run away easily. The thickness of the surface is due to the under-layer and the competition layer,” explains Ferrier. A second ring, a bit further away, enables riders to warm up or even lunge their horses without disturbing the other competitors, as there are four lunging rings available.
The comfort of the stables
For the test events, the site boasts 200 boxes measuring 3x4 metres. In August, there will be a hundred additional stables. If required, the boxes can be fitted with a door grill. Open and airy, the 30-metre stable blocks enable the air to circulate transversally, which ventilates the stables and evacuates dust. On the ground, the decision was made to leave the synthetic turf to make it more comfortable for the horses. “When you set up 200 or 300 boxes on a man-made field, you have to provide everything: electricity, water, etc.” Everything is planned down to the tiniest details: the height of the shower pipes (sixteen showers will be installed for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian GamesTM 2014 in Normandy), the height of the electricity sockets, a water filtration system to provide clean water for the troughs, etc. Today, Ferrier estimates that the site is 95% ready: “We are still waiting for feedback from the riders, grooms, etc. so that we can put the finishing touches to the venue.” There is no doubt that the Organising Committee will be ready and raring to go in 60 days’ time!