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2010 Alltech WEG: World Extortion Games

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    2010 Alltech WEG: World Extortion Games

    posted on facebook
    Warmbloods Today Magazine's page, as a letter to the editor

    Letter To The Editor - World Extortion Games?
    Today at 11:42am
    2010 Alltech WEG: World Extortion Games

    For the first time we will have the World Equestrian Games in the US and I think it was about time. But something must have happened when the spirit of the games travelled over the Atlantic Ocean – everything got twice as expensive as it was in Europe.

    I know the economy is tough and the WEG organizers are trying to make as much money as possible, but the economy is tough for everybody!!!

    We are a small German non-profit breed registry, and thought that this event would be the perfect occasion to become better known outside of Europe. And so we were among the first ones to sign up for a booth. With US$ 15,000.00 for a 9 ft x 9 ft booth, this was already twice as expensive as it was in Aachen in 2006. But again, we still believed this to be a great event and wonderful opportunity, and so we decided to bite the bullet. Surprise, surprise, after we had already paid for the booth in full, we found out that we had to purchase additional liability insurance for US$ 500.00. Liability for what – we do not even have horses at our booth? In my everyday life I am a sales engineer, and attended countless tradeshows all over the world – but nowhere did I have to buy additional insurance for a booth.

    The ticket prices are not exactly a bargain either – e.g. US$ 560.00 for the cheaper seats for the 2.5 days of dressage is pretty hefty. But on top of that guests have to buy a day pass if they want to come into the horse park on the day where there is not dressage. The same is true for the other events such as jumping. Well, those off-days in between the series are the ones that we as a vendor were hoping to see the most people at our booth, something that will not happen if they have to pay extra for a day pass.

    With almost US$ 400.00 per night for a hotel room, which a vendor needs for at least 17 days, we are again talking about major expenses. Why a hotel room needs to be more than twice as expensive during that period is a mystery to me. I can understand that hotels do increase their prices during major events, but US$ 400.00 for a regular business hotel, nothing fancy or even close to downtown, that seems to be a bit much for me.

    And now the latest and greatest is a charge for the shuttle buses between the hotels and the horse park. Again, I have been to trade shows, conferences and exhibitions all over the world, and not once did I have to pay for the shuttle bus service.

    We will be 4 people at our booth, two of them have to fly in from Germany, and between the 4 of us we already spent close to US$ 34,000.00, and the WEG has not even started yet. We still need furniture for our booth, at which, by the way, we are not allowed to serve any refreshments to our guests, because the organizers have that stipulated with their concession company. This is a lot of money for a small non-profit organization - I just hope it was worth paying more than twice as much than in Europe four years ago.

    Susanne Lauda
    Baden-Wurttemberg Breed Registry

    welcome to capitalism - US style


      That really is a shame. Probably the last US WEG in my lifetime


        I bet Ms. Lauda is glad she doesn't live in America.

        All the Europeans who come over for the games can go home feeling sorry for us.
        "We don't ride the clock. We ride the horse." Reiner Klimke.


          I know, it's so upsetting. Why are they shooting themselves in the foot this way?

          If it was just a complaint about airfare, I'd have no sympathy. Turnabout and all that.

          But the US prices really are outrageous.
          Ring the bells that still can ring
          Forget your perfect offering
          There is a crack in everything
          That's how the light gets in.


            Too bad I won't be able to afford a trip to the games, or I'd love to visit their booth and shake their hands for putting in writing what so many are feeling. When they first announced that the games would be held here I had a glimmer of hope to be able to attend, now, well, there is no way unless I want to take out a small loan!


              I's so sad that this is such a ridiculously expensive event. I too had glimmers of hope about attending and taking my horse crazy daughter...but when I started getting the emails with pricing, I about had a seizure. It's just absolutely unaffordable for any "normal" hard working horse lover. That just saddens me to no end, because what a great way this would have been for the equine world to really show off how wonderful horses and horse sports are to the non-equine world...but with the massive expenditures, I believe it will pretty much count out anyone who isn't horse crazy and independantly wealthy (okay...I know that isn't totally true...but it's how it feels).
              Sad state of affairs if you ask me


                It boggles the mind that the powers that be are surprised that ticket sales have been slow...
                "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                  Has anyone thought about a petition? I would bet thousands from all over the world would sign it. I signed up to be a volunteer and of course I got a spot because I live 5 minutes from the park and with me they don't have to pay room and board etc. I decided NOT to volunteer..I could not in good conscious volunteer for an organization that was trying to rape the horse community.
                  Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. Dalai Lama


                    I too had a glimmer of hope about attending the WEG. That went out the window when I saw the ticket prices! Now that I'm seeing what the hotels are charging I'm seeing just how far out of my price range it woud have been anyways. Stinks that it's in your own country and you can't go see it.

                    I feel for the OP, how miserable for them. It's just leaving a bad taste in everyone's mouth. Now I'm hearing stories of hotels cancelling reservations but being able to hold the room for DOUBLE the original price!! Oye vey


                      As a Kentuckian, the negative word-of-mouth regarding WEG is very distressing. It's our (my) state tax dollars that have gone into the $100 million plus renovations to the Kentucky Horse Park to prepare for WEG. And as most people know - Kentucky is not a wealthy state. And I absolutely sympathize with the frustrations experienced by Baden-Wurttemberg Breed Registry and others.

                      But I had to laugh - in irony - at the regret expressed over the $34,000 spent to date by this European rare breed registry to attend WEG. Holy crap - $34,000? I wish! That's far less than money spent on one decent hunter pony or reining horse. I'm involved with rare Native, North American breeds - and we can't even begin to comprehend that type of discretionary income.

                      What for most of us seems just a money-grubbing bunch of bureaucrats are actually hard-working, committed people attempting to pull off a suitably spectacular show in honor of WEG's first venture to North America. I've worked with Kentucky Horse Park staff - and I assure you, they are not evil-doers. This is a huge endeavor to under-take, and the committment was in place before the economy bottomed out. I do believe these people are working triple-time with no double-time.

                      So I'm very saddened by the negativity over WEG. And I agree there are legitimate complaints and concerns over costs and logistics.

                      But just in case you want to paint these people as bad guys. They are not.


                        Perhaps the Baden-Wurttemberg Breed Registry should have opted for Dressage at Devon instead. Beside being less expensive for vendors, the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses is having their annual General Assembly and seminars during the show.

                        Is it too late for them to cancel their booth at WEG ?



                          Originally posted by dwblover View Post
                          Now I'm hearing stories of hotels cancelling reservations but being able to hold the room for DOUBLE the original price!! Oye vey
                          That's because of a contractural agreement with Short's Sports and Events company of Iowa. They're the official housing company for WEG. Complain to them, not the hotel.


                            Originally posted by Mardi View Post
                            That's because of a contractural agreement with Short's Sports and Events company of Iowa. They're the official housing company for WEG. Complain to them, not the hotel.
                            One would think that the hotels were fully aware of the details in the contracts they signed, and therefore not absolved of repsonsibility for the profiteering.
                            "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                            ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


                              The event organizers have what prior experience, 4-H gymkhanas?


                                Like others, I was planning to go, but now am not. Who thinks there will be a pay(a lot)-per-view at the last minute?
                                Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                                  I'm going....taking my two horse-crazy teen daughters. I swallowed hard and bought tickets ($1100) to three events, dressage freestyle, eventing XC, and eventing stadium on the first day they were available last October.

                                  Then I tried to reserve a hotel room. We feel lucky to have gotten a Motel 6 for $200/night as everything else was $400 and up a night.

                                  Then I tried to figure out shuttle service, and was told that it would cost me $45/day for shuttle wristbands for the three of us to ride to the KHP and back.

                                  Then I priced parking on-site, and learned that it would be $100/day for guaranteed parking.

                                  Once I added it all up, I could have taken my daughters on a trip to England to see the Badminton Horse Trials for similar cost.

                                  We're excited to go, but are already feeling ripped off, long before we've left, and I'm sort of afraid that I'm walking into a situation where prices will be heavily inflated, everywhere we turn.


                                    I'm another one who thought I wanted to go until I saw the price of the tickets (not even counting hotel in here). No way for me. I'd rather spend the money on my horse. If I want to watch top riders, I'll go to Florida or take cheap trip to Europe (cheap by comparison). You can watch the top riders at smaller shows and end up even closer to the action. You can also mix in more training and fun. This is typical US prices for major events. Good thing the economy crashed and the organizers are also learning a lesson in economics. I hope it hurts their bottom line that they got as greedy on prices as the banks did with the housing industry!
                                    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"


                                      Originally posted by Velvet View Post
                                      I'm another one who thought I wanted to go until I saw the price of the tickets (not even counting hotel in here). No way for me. I'd rather spend the money on my horse. If I want to watch top riders, I'll go to Florida or take cheap trip to Europe (cheap by comparison). You can watch the top riders at smaller shows and end up even closer to the action. You can also mix in more training and fun. This is typical US prices for major events. Good thing the economy crashed and the organizers are also learning a lesson in economics. I hope it hurts their bottom line that they got as greedy on prices as the banks did with the housing industry!
                                      I swear, it cost me less to fly to England, attend Badminton, and stay in England touring for two weeks than it would cost to go to the WEG in Kentucky and see the dressage and eventing. THink of it this way: The DVDs will probably be about $29.95 each, and you'll get better close-up views, especially of the cross-country. Yeah, I know, doesn't have the flavor and excitement of being there in person (especially since you'll already know the results), but still, it costs so much less.... very sad. I,too, was very excited at the prospect of the WEG here in the US, but when I saw the ticket/hotel prices...forget it.

                                      I guess I was lucky when I went to the Eventing Championship back in '78 when the KHP opened. My place to stay fell through (private) and at the last minute I had to get a hotel. I think it was $45 a night (shared with a friend I met there)! ROFLOL They hadn't learned to gouge horse people yet!


                                        Subscribing to FEI TV is indeed a wonderful thing.