Top Things to See at the 2018 World Equestrian Games

Top Things to See at the 2018 World Equestrian Games

Top Things to See at the 2018 World Equestrian Games

We’re starting to get really excited for the the FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG) coming to the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) September 11-23, 2018. Much like the Olympics, this sporting event is held every four years and is beloved by people the world over. But while the event is well known within the global equestrian community, non-riders may not be as familiar with it. To help you better understand all the competitions and scoring methods, we’ve made this quick introductory guide to all things WEG. We’ll walk you through the different disciplines, show you where to find the full schedule of events and ticket information, and give you a list of suggestions for other things to see and do in your downtime. So, without further ado, let’s get started:

Must-See WEG Events


As the name suggests, Jumping (also referred to as Show Jumping) is a hurdle-style event where the riders guide their horses through a course of jumping obstacles as high as 1.6 meters (5.25 feet) with different turns and changes of direction between jumps. Riders are scored on the time it took them to complete the course, as well as on their number of faults (knockdowns, for example).

Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage

Dressage is the ballet of the equestrian world. In this event, the horse performs an intricate pattern of movements (like a dance) based on subtle cues given by the rider. The team’s routine is then scored by a seven-member judging panel, similar to how ice-skating is judged.

Para-Equestrian Dressage employs the same basic rules as conventional Dressage, but with Paralympic level riders divided into different competition grades based on functional abilities. Riders in this category are judged at three levels: either walk, trot, and canter; walk and trot; or, finally, just walk. More than any other, this event highlights not only the resilient strength of the human spirit, but also the true bond, trust and communication between a horse and it’s rider.


Much like a buffet, Eventing has a little bit of everything. This triathlon style challenge includes Dressage, Cross-County, and Show Jumping and takes place over the course of three to four days with one event per day. Each phase is scored individually, but penalties carry over from each day’s round. The horse and rider team with the fewest faults and penalties at the end of the competition is then deemed the winner after this vigorous test of endurance!


Looking for a little more action? Driving not only includes Dressage, Marathon, and Cones, but also demands a three-member team navigate a carriage pulled by four horses through a variety of obstacles (including a water obstacle). This adrenaline-fueled, three-day event is a often a crowd favorite as it demonstrates the incredible display of fitness, stamina, and athleticism of both horses and drivers. Like many other events, Driving teams are judged on their accuracy and speed, and the team with the fewest faults wins.


Similar to a marathon, Endurance is a long-distance competition where horse and rider teams are racing against each other and the clock—only instead of 26.2 miles, this event clocks in at 100 miles. Because of the physical demands of the varying terrains and sheer distance traveled, vet checks and rest periods are not only key strategies for winning, but mandatory checkpoints for maintaining the welfare of horse and rider alike. The first team to cross the finish line and pass a final vet check is then crowned the first place winner.


If you think traditional gymnastics is a fantastic show of grace and athleticism, just wait until you see gymnastics on horseback! Vaulting is an awe-inspiring display of precise acrobatic routines performed atop a cantering horse. Team, individual, and freestyle competitors are judged on their abilities to smoothly complete a set of compulsory routines while demonstrating obvious strength, flexibility, and balance. Of course not all pressure is on the humans—the horses are judged on their performance as well.


Large, fast circles. Flying lead changes. 360 degree spins. Sliding stops. With an itinerary like that, you know Reining has to be one of the most thrilling equestrian events on the bill. Inspired by cattle herding work and movements, this event is judged on the team’s execution of required movements as well as their degree of difficulty. An average Reining score is 70, so you know any performance that scores higher than that was truly spectacular!

The World Equestrian Games is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see performances by the world’s best equestrians. Check out the full schedule of events here, or filter the master calendar to find times for each discipline. WEG is the fourth largest sporting event in the world this year, so you’ll want to buy your tickets soon.

What to do Between WEG Events

Now that you’ve got your tickets, it’s time to plan the rest of your trip. Since the FEI World Equestrian Games™ take place over the course of nearly two weeks, chances are you will have some down time between events. Make the most of your breaks and venture beyond the event grounds to experience the unique locale that is the southeastern United States.

Did you know Spartanburg County is the closest major metropolitan area to the World Equestrian Games? Even closer than Asheville, NC (50 miles), Charlotte, NC (77 miles), or Greenville, SC (40 miles), the City of Spartanburg is just 34 miles from TIEC, while Landrum, SC is less than 13 miles away (that’s less than a 30 minute drive).

Often drawing on history as an inspiration, Spartanburg is known for it’s thriving arts and culture community, plentiful outdoor activities, unique local restaurants, and stunning scenic views. Here’s just some of what we have to offer:

Vast Variety of Dining Options

What do you crave after a long day of fun? Classic southern cooking? Locally-sourced small plates? Global cuisine? Regardless, we have an array of unique restaurants to suit your style. We’ve got long-loved staples like Wade’s Restaurant and Sugar-n-Spice that have been serving all of your favorites for generations, and newer, more modern restaurants like the Southside Smokehouse and The Kennedy run by South Carolina Chef Ambassadors who craft dishes featuring unique flavors from all around the world. Want to wet your whistle? Not to worry, we’ve got plenty of places to grab handcrafted drinks, too!

Thriving Arts and Culture Scene

There is a reason the word “art” is in SpARTanburg. Come experience our Downtown Cultural District and enjoy exciting art galleries, music venues, museums, and one of the best bookshops in the South. Let the live jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, and beach music being played by local street performers be the soundtrack to your stroll as you stop and appreciate the many statues, murals, and funky temporary installations that pepper the streets.

Outdoor Adventure

If you love the outdoors, you’ll love Spartanburg. Kayak through a cinematic foggy scene. Cycle through miles of pristine trail. Hike through scenic nature preserves. Sleep under the stars. Fish in a glassy lake. Picnic near a waterfall. With so much to do in the great outdoors, you may never want to go back inside again.

A Journey Through History

Experience America’s early years firsthand at Walnut Grove Plantation, the Seay House, the Price House, Glendale Shoals Preserve, and each small town in between—after all, each has its own story to tell.

Events for the Whole Family

From dance performances to farmers markets, and from writers workshops to seasonal festivities, we boast a well-rounded events calendar. Experience something you can’t see or do at home—dance downtown at Jazz on the Square, have a drink at SpartOberfest, or join the locals for our monthly ArtWalk.

Comfortable and Convenient Accommodations

Not everyone can rest easy in the excitement and action of such a big event. Stay a little further out from all the hustle and bustle and experience southern hospitality at it’s finest at a quaint, historical bed and breakfast located in a park-like setting just off the beaten path, or in the luxury of a modern, art-infused hotel that is overflowing with amenities.

To make your trip to the Carolinas even easier, we’ve designed 1/2-, full-, and two-day itineraries for you, and have valuable information on our airport and how to get around town. We’re here to answer your questions, all you have to do is give us a call at (864) 594-5000 or contact us online.



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