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The World Equestrian Games In Jerez Spain
September 10-22, 2002

By Diana De Rosa

Antonio Ortiz

Antonio Ortiz, the General Manager of the World Equestrian Games, which will be taking place in Jerez, Spain, September 10-22, 2002, and César Garcia de Quebedo, the Communications Manager, have been involved with the Games since its inception.

They and the others from Jerez are hoping that this will be the start of more events to be held at these venues. For them this is the beginning to the future of horse sports in Spain, not a culmination once WEG is over.

I went to Jerez, Spain to see the venues and to visit with Antonio, César and others on the WEG staff. Antonio explained his reasons why the Games are being held in Spain and his ultimate goals. "We have a good feeling about these Games. I feel the facilities will be ready in a month or less. We sold a lot of tickets already, which for us is important because horse sports in Spain are not popular."

But the Games have given new enthusiasm to horse sports and many festivities will take place while the Games are in Jerez. In fact, "The whole town will be involved," explained Ortiz.

The author, Diana de Rosa in the Garden at the eleventh century Alcazar, a small archeological site - the oldest monument in town.

Antonio went on to explain how a lotto was organized just for these Games and netted $10 million. They've secured five large sponsors (Rolex, Volvo, Banesto, Telefonica and Osborne) and five small sponsors (Marca, Hola, Ave, Telefonica, and the Government of Dubai for endurance) to help with the difference of $23 million that they feel the Games will ultimately cost them, which does not include the building of the venues, which the local municipality is paying for. Ticket sales and a trade fair will make up the difference. (There will be no tickets for endurance - that will be free to everyone.)

Antonio also explained that the goal is "to try and do a World Championship like it is in other sports. In many places it is way down and we would like to put the equestrian sport at the same level as other sports. Finally, I would like to create a total equestrian family all in one location. It will be good for the FEI, for the Games, for Jerez and for our sponsors." To Antonio, that was what these Games were all about.

Security is an underlying issue that seems to prevail over any major event nowadays and it is something that everyone everywhere is taking very seriously. WEG is just one more example of an event that is focusing on increased security issues.

"The Spanish police are very concerned," noted Ortiz. "We are working to ensure it is a safe Games. Royalty will be here and everyone must be checked out. When you have so many important people together it becomes a security problem. Security will be tough.'

"Jerez is not New York," explained Ortiz. "Everything is close together."

During the time of the Games those with accreditation (officials, journalists, riders) will be able to ride the public transportation for free. They will also increase the number of buses and trains. There will be official transportation such as shuttle buses for the press and cars to shuttle the officials. The transportation issues have been carefully scrutinized in hopes of avoiding traffic bottlenecks. They are also discouraging people from coming with cars.

Press Chief, Lucia Montanarella indicated that the transportation was "one of the most difficult aspects of the Games. A good transport plan is essential."


Jerez has a tourist office on Paul Street where you can go to get information about tourist attractions around town. Among these are such places as the eighteenth century Alcazar, Tio Pepe's bodega, La Taberna Flamenca where you can eat traditional Spanish food and watch flamenco dancing. Feel free to call, fax or email the tourist office or stop by (, #: 956 34 86 96, Fax. 956 33 17 31).


All seven disciplines (show jumping, dressage, eventing, driving, vaulting, endurance, and reining) will take place at two venues. The main headquarters will be in Chapin where three different venues will showcase most of the events, except for the endurance, the obstacle phase of driving and the cross-country phase of the eventing, which will take place at Garrapilos.

The indoor arena

The permanent barn where some of the horses will be staying

Chapin 3 where the Reining and Vaulting will be taking place

The Olympic Stadium where the Opening Ceremonies, Show Jumping and Dressage will take place

.Jaime de la Calle is the manager of Garrapilos (since June 28, 2001) and takes his job very seriously. He started working for WEG in 1995 in different jobs. He took over at Garrapilos, when it was obvious they needed someone who could undertake this major project and complete it in time for the Games.

Jaime de la Calle on the left and course designer Michael Tucker.on the right
Photo courtesy of WEG.

"No one knows what Garrapilos was like two years ago," explained Ortiz. It's due to Jaime's diligence that the venue is now first class.

Jaime heads up the construction of the Garrapilos site, which is 17 kilometers north of Jerez, about a 15 to 20 minute drive. Jaime works hard and expects the same from his crew of close to 50 people. They start working at 7:30 a.m. and often work well into the evening, only taking a short lunch break, despite the fact that in Spain most people take an afternoon siesta. Jaime made it clear to his workers when they were hired that there would be no siestas until the Games are over.

Now Jaime and his crew are finishing up the last minute things. "I wanted to finish early so that I could have time to do the little things," he explained. Jaime and his staff work closely together.

In fact everyone works very closely to finish up the venues in time for the influx of guests. It's about helping each other, both in preparation for the Games and during the Games. "That's always been a WEG concept," explained Lucia. "The bigger disciplines support the smaller ones."

In fact this will be the first time that seven equestrian disciplines will all be showcased in one place, with the new addition of Reining. And it will be an event to remember as Jerez readies itself to open its doors to the world.

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