The Hague (NED)
While reflecting on the tremendous success in the aftermath of the first FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Stockholm, then FEI President, HRH Prince Philip, warned that "three years is insufficient for any Federation to put together the very large and sophisticated organisation that is needed to manage such an event", words which were to prove prophetic…
Indeed, the 1994 FEI World Equestrian Games™ were, unfortunately, unable to sustain the momentum gathered during the first ever WEG. The second WEG, at The Hague in The Netherlands in 1994, was dogged by organisational and administrative chaos and ended in financial bankruptcy. Although The Hague had been mooted as a potential venue for the second WEG, the Paris bid had initially been successful. However, the French project fell apart and a few months later the second-placed bidders from Holland eagerly took on the task. Despite their enormous enthusiasm and Holland's excellent reputation for show management and sponsorship acquisition, the event was seriously marred by a number of issues including site management.
To date, the 1994 edition is mainly remembered for the financial disaster it turned out to be and the enormous organisational problems inherent throughout the preparatory stages and the event. These circumstances were all the more regrettable as they overshadowed the sports performances which were very impressive. The sport in all its disciplines was of the highest level with many outstanding moments. The Games were generally followed by a large number of spectators; however, the numbers could have been even greater had the ticketing process worked properly.
Another interesting aspect of these Games was that the major political changes that had taken part in Eastern Europe in the early 1990s were very noticeable. The USSR had ceased to exist and so riders from new countries such as Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine participated. Croatia, having achieved independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, was also essentially a new country; in 1993 Czechoslovakia had dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, both of which were represented. And of course, FRG and GDR had now been united to form one country, Germany.