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WEG eventing: A day of cross country and cross fans

The above video by Lance – aka Buzzterbrown – was taken on WEG cross-country day.

The world’s eventers weren’t the only ones feeling under stress as they tackled the cross country at Haras du Pin for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Normandy.

Very French: open-air loos for the spectators.

Very French: open-air loos for the spectators. © Brent Cheeseman

The crowd goes wild.

The crowd goes wild.

Kiwis who travelled many thousands of kilometres to watch the nation’s eventers certainly faced some trials of their own. Many were disappointed over several shortcomings.

The predicted traffic issues were even worse than many Kiwis expected:  three and a half hours stuck in traffic seemed common.

One poor friend stuck on a bus in the jam ended up texting a friend in New Zealand to find out what was happening!

Here are some of the comments by Kiwis:

  • “We were grid locked for 3 hrs. Got there in time to see William at 12. Left at 5 pm and at standstill for 2 hours.”
  • “Eventually arrived after sitting in a mobile parking lot for over 4.5 hours!!!! Arrived at about 13.50 joined the queue just after 9am absolute madness !!!”
  • “Four hours stuck in traffic gave up and went back to watch on big screen at village. On top of the other antics of queues filthy loos etc, that was the pits. Just as well the dressage was fab.”
  • “The traffic was horrendous! Pleased we started our day at 6am to get there just in time for 10 am start”
  • “Left Caen at 7.30am, joined the traffic queue and then parked the car on the side of the road at 10.20am and walked the last 6km to get there. Missed Toddy [Mark Todd] but managed to see Tim [Price]. Thanks to the Facebook warning we took our own food but had to stand in line for the toilet (couldn’t think of an alternative for that one).”
The so-called "starting block" toilets at d'Ornano Stadium.

The so-called “starting block” toilets at d’Ornano Stadium.

  • “Disappointed we got in the first train from Caen at 8.16am but still didn’t make it there until midday due to the gridlock, poor organisation (ended up jumping off the shuttle and walking 5km).”
  • “We took the 7.29 train and then the shuttle bus which took a couple of hours. We got there just after 10 so missed the first few. At least we can’t say the day was boring. I stood in a queue for an hour to go to the toilet but at least I could see the big screen while I waited. Would have been much quicker to run off into the bushes like lots of other people were doing.”
  • “Saw 100 loos for 500 helpers but also 100 loos for 50,000.”
  • “Almost no traffic control on the public roads (other than the odd policeman disinterestedly watching the chaos grow) – but at the event they were stationed every 10m down the road to prevent spectators stepping onto the (empty ) road”
  • “We spent 5.5 hours in the traffic jam and got there in time to see the two clear Kiwi rounds. The day before the same trip took 50 minutes. We heard of a group of German fans who had a 40 hour bus ride, only to get stuck in traffic. They got into the grounds in time to see the last few horses, then had to drive 40 hours back.”
  • The toilets have been horrendous. From “starting blocks” in the Stad D’Ornano which soon blocked during the dressage to the porta-loos at the cross country where people had to queue for an hour, they really were dire.

Below: some crowd scenes snapped by Jane Thompson as Haras du Pin.

Jane Thompson

About the Author

Jane has always had a keen interest in horses, and was an active competitor in equestrian events from her early days until the late 1980s. » Read Jane's profile

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