Kentucky Drops Bid for 2022 World Equestrian Games

Credit : Kentucky Horse Park

Monday 16 January - 17h20 | Ian Clayton and press release

Kentucky Drops Bid for 2022 World Equestrian Games

And then there was one. But will others come forward?

 - Kentucky Drops Bid for 2022 World Equestrian Games

Šamorín, Slovakia
Credit : Google Maps

Kentucky Horse Park has withdrawn its candidature to host the 2022 World Equestrian Games (WEG).

The decision leaves Šamorín, Slovakia as the sole candidate currently in the running to host the Games, after the two locations were selected as host finalists by the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) on December 22nd. 

The WEG, which are held every four years, feature competitions in all eight FEI disciplines: Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining.

Kentucky officials say money issues are at the root of the withdrawal of their candidacy, as well as the desire of the Park to "chart its own course."

“We are committed to being good stewards of the Kentucky Horse Park,” said Tandy Patrick, chair of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission. “We do not think it would be economically feasible for the park to host the 2022 games.”

Patrick and fellow Kentucky bid members say that millions of dollars of ‘deferred maintenance expenses’ had been identified at the park, a 1,224-acre equestrian facility which is also home to the International Museum of the Horse. 

Those infrastructure requirements necessitate short-term investments other than what would be needed to host the Games, they explain. 

The other finalist location for the 2022 WEG, the Šamorín Equestrian Centre in Slovakia, brain-child of businessman Mario Hoffmann, hosted 46 nations at the 2016 Longines FEI World Endurance Championships in September. It remains to be seen whether other bids will be reconsidered or new candidates step forward.

The Kentucky Horse Park decision is the latest case of financial considerations modifying the site of the WEG — a similar situation to the Olympic Games as the costs associated with welcoming such large sporting events can be prohibitive. 

Last autumn, the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games were relocated to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in North Carolina, USA after originally being awarded to the financially-challenged bid from Bromont, in Quebec, Canada.

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