Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Kentucky wins bid for 2010 World Equestrian Games

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, December 06, 2005  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker

United States to host games for first time

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The 2010 World Equestrian Games will be in Lexington at the Kentucky Horse Park, Governor Ernie Fletcher announced today. 

This final vote handed down by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) selection committee will likely draw more than 300,000 attendees and millions of television viewers from around the world. In addition, the games would have a potential economic impact of nearly $100 million – the financial equivalent of hosting two NCAA men’s basketball Final Four championships. The Kentucky Horse Park will host the games for two weeks in September and October of 2010.  

“Hosting the 2010 World Equestrian Games provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to showcase the Commonwealth to the world,” said Governor Fletcher, who chaired the bid committee for the games. “It is appropriate that Kentucky serve as the host for this prestigious series of events.” 

John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park, led a Kentucky delegation to Bahrain that made the successful pitch to the FEI selection committee. The FEI is the international governing body of equestrian sport that is recognized by the International Olympic Committee.   

“This is the first time that the World Equestrian Games will be staged outside of Europe,” noted Nicholson.  “It will also be the first time that the Games are staged at a single venue.  That’s because there isn’t another site in the world that has the facilities that are available at the Kentucky Horse Park.”

The World Equestrian Games include world championships of seven equestrian sports – show jumping, dressage, eventing, driving, reining, vaulting and endurance riding. They take place every four years, two years prior to the Summer Olympics. The field of contenders for the 2010 Games had been narrowed to Kentucky and the Normandie-Basse region of France.   

The 14-day series of competitions will draw more than 800 equestrians and 1,000 horses from 50 countries. It will also attract more than 1,000 international journalists and will be televised in 180 countries. Fifty of those countries will receive live coverage of the events. 

Prior World Equestrian Games have been hosted by Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, and Spain.  The 2006 Games will take place in Aachen, Germany.   

“The World Equestrian Games is the very essence of what equestrian sport stands for,” said United States Equestrian Federation President and Olympic Gold Medal-winner David O’Connor. “It is simply the pinnacle of equestrian sport for each of the seven disciplines it represents.”   

A five-member delegation consisting of John Nicholson, executive director of The Kentucky Horse Park; Rob Hinkle director of operations at the Kentucky Horse Park; Derrick Ramsey, deputy secretary of the Commerce Cabinet; Tandy Patrick, chair of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission; and John Long, chief executive officer of the United States Equestrian Federation, Inc. made the final presentation.