LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 13, 2017) – The Kentucky Horse Park Commission voted today to withdraw from consideration for hosting the ninth International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) World Equestrian Games, to be held in 2022.
Commission members expressed concerns regarding staging of the games and the potential conflict that hosting would create with the long-term goals of the Kentucky Horse Park, including limitations on potential Horse Park-generated revenue opportunities. “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.” “We have had an open dialogue with the public through several visioning sessions and we’re hearing good ideas about long-term strategic growth at the park,” said Don Parkinson, secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. “Additionally, a recent survey of the park’s assets found $12 million in deferred maintenance expenses, and we recognize the need for immediate and near-term investments in our facilities.” The World Equestrian Games, which are held every four years, are comprised of competitions in all eight of the FEI disciplines. The disciplines are Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining. The Kentucky Horse Park, located in Lexington, Kentucky, is a 1,224-acre equestrian facility dedicated to “man’s relationship with the horse.” Each year the park is host to a number of high profile events and horse shows. The park is home to the International Museum of the Horse, the most comprehensive museum in the world dedicated to exploring the important history of all horses and their impact on human civilization.
“We regret that we are not able to fight for the honorable task of organizing WEG 2022 in a direct battle against a strong candidate like the Kentucky Lexington Horse Park. In my opinion, their decision was based on the lack of trust that two U.S. locations would win in a row in 2018 and 2022. WEG is an incredible opportunity for promoting Slovakia across the world and we firmly believe that we will gain partners that will help us attain beneficial economic goals for both sides. Our role model will be the organization of WEG 2006 in legendary Aachen, where they managed to operate with profit and bring the partners enormous value through attendance rates, as well as viewership and the promotion of equestrian sport in the media,” said the author of the idea of x-bionic® sphere Mario Hoffmann.