When the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games come calling at your doorstep (7.5 miles from home at the Kentucky Horse Park, to be exact) it is almost obligatory to write about the event. The difficulty is that most of the legal issues associated with the Games are interesting only to attorneys: the legal wrangling involved in bringing the games to Kentucky in the first place, the vastly different reactions from riders and non-riders to the liability waivers required for all volunteers, the decision-making that allowed some exhibitors to have booths at the Kentucky Horse Park but relegated others to off-site locations.
Thank goodness for FEI president H.R.H. Princess Haya Bint al Hussein
The Games got off to a rousing start at the Horse Park on Saturday evening with a three-hour celebration of everything equine. The governor and the mayor welcomed everyone to Kentucky and Lexington, respectively, and Princess Haya officially opened the games. (To complain that the Games already had started with a session of reining earlier in the day would be undeserved nit-picking.)
Princess Haya spoke eloquently about a lifelong love for horses and horse sports that spanned continents and oceans and she recognized the pivotal role horses played in the development of commerce and culture in the United States. Over the years, she said, Americans have found many “reasons to give thanks for their horses.” Among those horses, she added, are “the wild mustangs that still roam in parts of the American west.”
It was the high point of the evening. Unfortunately, Princess Haya was preaching to the choir.