1994 The Hague, Netherlands
Canadian Fast Facts
While the Canadian eventing team of Edie Tarves/Socrates, Chelan Kozak/Soweto, and Jamie Smart/Fascination Street finished 10th and were not able to clinch an Olympic berth, they did manage to finish as a team over a course that took a surprising toll on some of the powerhouse squads of eventing, including New Zealand, Australia, and the US.
Canadians were upset when it took 30 minutes in the extreme heat to get assistance and transport for Bruce Mandeville's mount Hitman, who injured his stifle near the end of the cross-country course.
Jamie Smart and Fascination Street completed the cross-country course despite three refusals (allowable in 1994).
For the first time, speed classes were incorporated into the Canadian Jumping Team selection trials leading up to this WEG. The team also spent time competing in Europe to get accustomed to the increased height and width of fences they would face. The team finished a very creditable 7th.
Michel Vaillancourt acted as chef d'équipe.
The Hague was Eric Lamaze's first WEG; he rode Cagney to 28th place.
Following the tremendous success of the first WEG in Stockholm, the second edition in The Hague, Netherlands, unfortunately fell flat. The Games had originally been allocated to Paris, France, but that project failed to materialize and Holland, the second-place bidders, took up the challenge. Despite good intentions and a solid horse show track record, organizational, administrative and financial mayhem led to eventual bankruptcy. Site management was a major issue, with the overcrowded Zuiderpark, dearth of volunteers and lack of sufficient rehearsals causing many serious problems. There were trafic nightmares, power failures, no media facilities, unsuitable accommodations for grooms, little crowd control, TV scheduling screwups, 20-minute walks between stables and rings ... and the list goes on. A final blow was the fact that it was the hottest summer in Europe for over 200 years!
Despite the chaos, the quality of the sport in all disciplines was extremely high, although ticketing problems meant that the events were not enjoyed by as many as possible. First-time participants at this WEG include South Africa, San Marino, Romania, and Liechtenstein. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, riders from new countries such as Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine took part. Other upheavals in Eastern Europe saw Croatia gain independence from Yugoslavia; Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and most notably, FRG and GDR became a single country, Germany.
- Germany scored jumping double gold, winning the individual (Franke Sloothaak with San Patrignano Weihaiwej) and team medals.
- Four German-bred mares battled it out in the Final Four; two carried the San Patrignano label (a drug rehab facility in Italy).
- Jon Doney of Great Britain was the course designer.
- The great Gem Twist competed in the warm-up competition for the US, but was not presented for the second jog; Leslie Lenehan rode Charisma instead, placing 24th.
- A small crowd of just 18,000 turned out for the Individual Jumping Final, as organizers had mistakenly advertised that the entire 32,000-seat arena had been sold out.
- Taking advantage of the high temperatures and extreme humidity, scientists and veterinarians collected heat stress data on horses to help organizers better prepare for the expected conditions at the upcoming 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
- The 17-year-old Rembrandt won the individual bronze for Nicole Uphoff-Becker (GER) and was a strong member of the German team gold medal effort. The gelding had suffered a broken leg in 1993 after being kicked during a victory gallop.
- Klaus Balkenhol of Germany, a member of the gold medal-winning team and second-place finisher in the kür aboard Goldstern, was a full-time policeman.
- The formula used in The Hague, where there were medals awarded for both the Grand Prix Speciale and the Freestyle, meant that there was no overall dressage world champion – a problem that the FEI intended to resolve before the next WEG.
- An all-female eventing squad won the gold medal for Great Britain.
- Cross-country day peaked at a humid 34°C, with even the roads-and-tracks phase tiring the horses. Only one of the entries who went clear cross-country had no time penalties – Jean Lou Bigot of France with Twist La Beige.
- The water obstacles caused many problems, as the footing was neither raked nor checked between horses and large holes developed.
- In endurance, the average speed of winner Valerie Kanavy (USA) was 15.5 km/hr over the 155-km race.
- The beginning to the endurance race was two laps around a racetrack, then over a slippery, narrow bridge which caused a tremendouse bottleneck and some injuries.