Enormous hoof prints in the sand on the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel in Normandy mark today’s milestone of 100 days to go to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2014 in France.
French artist Christophe Dumont created a spectacular piece of sand art featuring 2.3 by 2.5 metre horse hoof prints in a huge ‘100’ on the famous Normandy beach. The artist and a team of 20 people battled against time and tide to produce the unique artwork, so that it could be captured on camera before the waves washed it away.
Inspiration for the sand art came from the tracks made by horses on the beach and Dumont used the idea to create a distinctive and unique message for the 100-day countdown to the Games.
The FEI World Equestrian Games take place every four years and are seen as the pinnacle of equestrian sport. This year is the seventh edition of the Games, which take place in the middle of the Olympic cycle.
FEI President Princess Haya said: “The giant hoof prints on the beach at the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel is a beautiful way to mark the 100-day countdown to the start of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, as it captures the free spirit of our wonderful partner, the horse. And everyone who rides horses knows that we spend a lot of time training in circles!
“With just 100 days to go before the start of the Games, excitement is really building. The world’s best horses and riders will be going for gold in Normandy so we can expect absolutely top sport. We are looking forward to these being the best Games yet.”
This year’s Games, which run from 23 August to 7 September, will feature the world’s finest equestrian athletes competing in the seven official FEI disciplines: Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Reining, Vaulting and Endurance.
The Games will also see a record number of nations taking part, with 72 countries having already declared their intention to compete at the event in Normandy, making this the world’s greatest global equestrian sport event.
Organisers say 270,000 tickets have been sold to date, and there are still places available in every discipline.
Events will take place in Caen’s Stade d’Ornano, Zénith concert hall and La Prairie racecourse, in Orne at the prestigious Le Pin National Stud founded by decree of Louis XIV and known as “the Equestrian Versailles”, and in Sartilly, with part of the Endurance course actually running across the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel.
A highlight of the Games Village for the duration of the event is the Alltech Music Festival, which will feature a succession of renowned international artists and up-and-coming regional musicians on the main stage. Kool and the Gang will perform at the opening concert on Sunday, August 24, while Louis Bertignac, the former guitarist from the French band Téléphone, will be playing on Thursday night. The line-up will also include Aloe Blacc, a huge star in the US music scene, and Granville, an original young trio from Caen, which have been invited to play on Saturday 6 September during the closing concert.
Games visitors will also get the opportunity to visit the Alltech Pavilion which aims to communicate a sustainable future through nutrition, a key objective at Alltech. Visitors to the Alltech Pavilion located in the heart of the Games Village will experience the future for a sustainable world through a series of interactive displays including live crop grow tanks, DNA structures and fish tanks with more than 300 fish featuring the story of eating our way to a better life.
Alongside the Alltech Pavilion visitors can experience Equispher, where they can experience the world as the horse sees it and learn about the horse’s behaviour, senses and sporting ability via a wealth of interactive displays and sensory tools. This innovative tented exhibition is expected to welcome 30,000 French school children for an inspirational educational experience. Entry to both of these highly educational exhibitions is free and features bilingual content throughout.
Fabien Grobon, CEO of the Normandy 2014 Organising Committee, said preparations are right on track for the staging of the world’s most global equestrian event.
“Normandy has a long-standing association with the horse and equestrianism, which is something we’re very proud of. We’re putting everything in place to welcome thousands of athletes, horses and spectators, and we’re getting ready to host an amazing celebration that we will never forget,” Grobon said.