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LEXINGTON, KY. — As Kentucky Horse Park unravels from the experience of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games that ended Oct. 10, the scope of the event begs for a look:

According to the sponsor, more than a half-million people from all 50 states and nearly 60 countries attended over the 16 days. Competitors from 58 countries went head-to-head for world championship titles in eight equestrian disciplines, drawing more spectators than any U.S. sport event since the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah. On one peak day, eventing cross-country on Oct. 2, an unprecedented 50,818 spectators filled the Kentucky Horse Park. Alltech also estimates that, globally, more than 400 million followed the action on television.

As successful as the scope of the event was, Jim Wolf, the U.S. Equestrian Federation’s director of sport programs, sees needed improvement for U.S. program to compete at the highest level.
“We need to evaluate what went wrong and what went right — what we could have done differently,” said Wolf. “While we can’t disregard the bad performances here, we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water’.”

The brightest lights for the host Americans were the reiners, who dominated both team and individual competition, and the performance of individual bronze medal-winning Steffen Peters of California and Ravel.

“I’m happy with dressage,” said Wolf, noting three of the team members had no experience at this level, while the fourth, veteran Steffen Peters, won two individual bronze medals with Ravel. “Steffen did what we expected him to do and he will want to improve on the color of his medals.”

Although the U.S. was out of the team medals at these world championships in the three Olympic disciplines — dressage, eventing and show jumping — it was able to finish close enough to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in the first two. However, the lower-than-expected 10th-place finish in show jumping means qualification for that discipline will have to wait for the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico. The two big U.S. rivals in this sport at that competition, Brazil and Canada, both qualified for the Olympics at the WEG.

“If you asked me before the Games what discipline would do it (qualify for the Olympics) it would have been show jumping,” said Wolf.

The Americans tallied a total of eight medals: three gold, two silver and three bronze. The next FEI World Equestrian Games will take place in Normandie, France, in 2014.

2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games
U.S. Medal Count

Gold Medal
Team Reining

Tim McQuay with Hollywoodtinseltown, Craig Schmersal with Mister Montana Nic, Tom McCutcheon with Gunners Special Nite, and Shawn Flarida with RC Fancy Step

Gold Medal
Team Vaulting

Devon Maitozo, Blake Dahlgren, Mary Garrett, Emily Hogye, Mari Inouye, Rosalind Ross, and Annalise VanVranken,with Palatine (Carolyn Bland on lunge line)

Gold Medal
Individual Reining

Tom McCutcheon with Gunners Special Nite

Silver Medal
Individual Reining

Craig Schmersal with Mister Montana Nic

Silver Medal
Team Driving

Chester Weber, Tucker Johnson and James Fairclough

Bronze Medal
Grand Prix Special Dressage

Steffen Peters with Ravel

Bronze Medal
Grand Prix Freestyle Dressage

Steffen Peters with Ravel

Bronze Medal
Individual Driving

Tucker Johnson

Next FEI World Equestrian Games:
2014 – Normandie, France

FULL RESULTS at www.alltechfeigames.com/results

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