Here at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) this week, there are a number of interesting spectator topics floating through the stands.
These include things like: How many shuttle busses have already gotten stuck in the mud? (I’ve heard the number currently stands at three). Will construction ever end or is Tryon the modern-day equivalent of the Winchester Mystery House? (It’s been said the sound of hammering goes all night.) And why are the Bloody Marys at the Silo Bar are so damn expensive?! (To make money obviously, although they are admittedly delicious and pretty much worth it).
But perhaps forefront on everyone’s mind is the impending doom and gloom of Hurricane Florence.
While it appears that some spectators have chosen to stay home or evacuate to safer areas (and no one is faulting them one bit), there are plenty more that are choosing to hope for the best and ride out the storm in Tryon. If you are attending the first week of (WEG), here are four thoughts that might be running through your head.
1. Did I just drive/fly/bus a million hours, only to sit through a hurricane in a hotel room?
Quite possibly, yes. I recommend stalking up food, water, and booze, finding a copy of National Velvet, and living vicariously through Elizabeth Taylor while you curse Hurricane Florence via the window. The good news is you won’t have to sit in traffic and on the shuttle each morning, trying to make it from the parking lot to the venue itself, or use a single porta potty. See? Positives in every situation.
2. Why didn’t I evacuate to somewhere tropical, where I can lay on a beach and drink out of a coconut with a little umbrella in it?
Because you are an insane horse person, and even if you skipped WEG and went to that beach, we both know you’d be watching the live FEI feed on your phone from your beach chair, telling your friends you can’t go snorkeling right now because Charlotte Dujardin’s ride time is in 20 minutes. Admit it, you love horses and horse shows. Besides, going to WEG in a hurricane makes for an even better story to tell back at the office.
3. If it’s Day One of WEG and Tryon is literally still laying down gravel for roads, are they really prepared for the wind, rain and flooding from Florence?
Look, all jokes about the venue construction aside, Tryon has put together a massive effort to get ready for WEG in a short amount of time, and everyone is acknowledging that. And there’s a lot of stuff that went well today. (Unless you were here for endurance.) A hurricane that appears to be aiming straight for WEG is a rather unfortunate joke from the universe. If you’ve been following any of the Tryon official statements, you’ll see that they’re trying their best to assure everyone that they’ve got the bad weather under control by taking care of the important things, like stocking up on generators and fuel, making sure there are plenty of places for people and horses to go, and also “taking down flags”.
I’m not sure that last item is really in the same realm as say, dealing with the already muddy parking lot, but I suppose dying from a tragic flag-related accident during a hurricane at WEG would be pretty messed up, so maybe they’re onto something here?
4. Are the event riders really going to ride cross-country in the middle of the hurricane?
Have you ever met an eventer? They’re probably all foaming at the mouth right now at the thought of getting to try. Those people are crazy. A day riding in terrible weather galloping over giant fences has a special term in eventing dialect: It’s called a “normal Tuesday.”
So, good luck this weekend to all the spectators out there who are planning on braving wind, rain and sharknados to cheer on your teams from the stands. The riders might be the ones getting the medals, but you all are the true champions in those arenas, dealing with hot sun, pouring rain, and doing it all while rocking your clear plastic backpacks. Cheers to those of us crazy enough to love both horses and the people who ride them.
About the Author
When Aubrey Moore isn’t riding her horse Flynn, new pony or doing near-constant maintenance on her truck, she can be found with a glass of wine in hand, chatting happily with her cat Frankie.