The demanding nature of the WEG cross country course was nothing compared to the challenges faced by some fans on the road trying to get to the Haras du Pin venue, it would seem.
The roads were reported to be gridlocked, with many fans taking to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Facebook page to vent their frustration.
Some are calling for refunds.
“Complete shambles,” reported David Gordon, who came from Australia to watch the Games.
“After 2.5 hours sitting in traffic we returned to our accommodation in Caen and watched it all on FEI TV,” he reported on Facebook.
“Disgraceful organisation for such a large event.
“Seems utterly ridiculous – a small (beautiful) country town with only single lane traffic, bumper to bumper all the way from the freeway turn off.”
Sarah Thirkill reported: “After hitting the traffic jam at about 8am I jumped out the car at 9.30 (having hardly moved) to walk the final 4 to 5 miles, leaving hubby and young kids to find a parking space.
“Managed to pretty much miss the first hour. Hubby and kids finally got to the event just before 1pm.
“The hospitality and catering was a joke – hardly any food stalls or toilets for an expected crowd of 50,000! Unfortunately, we took the decision to leave by 2.30 as I can only imagine the chaos trying to get out – cars abandoned on the side of roads for about 5 miles.
“So disappointed – had looked forward to this for months – almost dreading the show jumping chaos tomorrow.”
Michelle Terlato , from Australia, said she was gutted, having travelled more than 15,000km to get there, only to be unable to cover the last 15km on time to watch the cross country.
“Over 5 hours in a bus in a traffic jam – still 15km away from the event – no police, no traffic management, no planning. Disgusting!
“Two busloads of very angry Aussies and we were not alone.”
Richard Wood commented: “Spent over three hours in the traffic jam; finally gave up as it wasn’t moving.”
New Zealander Lucy Collings remarked: “A true French farce. Turned back after being stuck for four hours.”
Roslyn Jensen said: “A complete debacle is the only way to describe today’s appalling lack of organisation for transport to the cross country.
“We also travelled from Australia particularly for this event and we’re so utterly disappointed to have missed the entire morning of competition because we were stuck in the traffic jam for three hours and forty minutes to move the final 16km to the venue.”
Vicki Hancock suggested most of the eventing ticketholders had instead spent their time in a queue of traffic. She called on the FEI to take some accountability
Games organisers, providing a noon update on the traffic situation at the eventing venue, said the public car park had opened at 6.30am and by midday there were 10,000 cars and 44 buses parked on the site.
“There are presently 35,000 spectators watching the competition,” they said.
They described traffic conditions as fluid until 9am, while at midday it took an estimated 1 hour and 15 minutes to travel from Argentan to the venue and 45 minutes to travel from Nonant-Le Pin to the venue.
“Traffic is now beginning to flow more freely.”
However, many still appeared to be caught in traffic, even early in the afternoon.
One tour organiser said a group left by bus for the venue at 7.30am for what should have been a two-hour journey. “At 1.30pm they were still on the coach sitting in a gridlock queue that went back 11km.
“Many of the folk that drove gave up in disgust and returned to Caen.
“Many are now baying for blood or at least refunds.”