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in 2006 set a record for attendance at 570,000. More than 750 athletes and 850 horses traveled to Germany to participate. Twelve hundred journalists and 300 photographers from around the world covered the events for television, print and internet media. With automobile travel much easier across Europe, WEG Normandy is hoping those numbers will grow in 2014. But Fabien Grobon is not fixated on numbers. “I would rather have 300,000 who truly enjoyed the event not just for the horses but for the atmosphere. When people come to the French Open Tennis at Roland Garros they spend eight hours in the stadium but only 2.5 hours of that time watching tennis. They relax over lunch, shop, and even look for celebrities in the VIP section. Normandy 2014 will be a sporting event with horses, but a chance for visitors to enjoy the region, the culture, and food with their families. And it will be a shot in the arm for the economy.” Though the games will last just two weeks, Normandy 2014 will


bring over a year of activity and celebration in the region. Museums and cultural events will be linked into the event. Working with local officials, businesses and even riders, the organizing committee has long-term plans to bring exhibitions focusing on horses to the region 15 months out. For American veterans of WWII, 2014 is the 70th Anniversary of D-Day and that date is not lost on the committee. Big marketing efforts will hopefully attract diverse tourists to the region that year.


2014 WEG Venues The director of Haras du Pin, Franck Le-Mestre,


explains that Normandy 2014 will be very different from past events. “Unlike the WEG 2010 where essentially all eight disciplines were held in the Kentucky Horse Park, these games will be spread out over the entire region.” The opening and closing ceremonies will be


hosted in the Stade Michel D’Ornano. Currently the home of a professional local soccer team


called the SM Caen, the stadium accommodates 21,000 in the stands. The manicured grass will be torn up and the sand carefully laid down for the dressage and show jumping disciplines. The dressage and show jumping phase of the three-day eventing discipline will also be held in the stadium. The cross country course is located outside of Caen. A few blocks away is the Caen Exhibition Center, where three of the other disciplines, vaulting, reining, and para-dressage will be housed. This arena will also be the WEG village, with what the French call a Gastronomy Village, which will offer food, an equestrian trade show and vendors, and house some of the administrative staff of the WEG. From the Exhibition Center you can look down a tree-lined park to the Racecourse La Prairie for the driving events. There will be a polo demonstration in Deauville on the coast and


Above, top to bottom: (1) SM Caen stadium for dressage and jumping. (2) Historic Mont St. Michel, part of the endurance phase. (3) The Caen Exposition Center. (4) La Prairie Racecourse to be used for driving. Inset: Statue in front of Reynald Angot’s house at Haras des Biches.


16 September/October 2011


the endurance competition circling the countryside. The endurance discipline venue was selected to incorporate a magnificent piece of French history. The monastery of Mont St. Michel, designated a UNESCO World heritage site in 1979, will welcome endurance riders. As once described by Victor Hugo, “The tides of Mont St. Michel change as swift as a galloping horse.” Endurance riders will gallop foot paths along the countryside near the eighth-century fortification as they complete their 100-mile test. As required by FEI regulations, veterinarians will inspect


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