A record total of 76 nations are set to participate in the Normandy 2014 World Equestrian Games, representing a 25 per cent on the previous best, with 14 countries to compete in the event for the first time.
Speaking today, Fabien Grobon, chief executive of Normandy 2014, hailed the announcement as "very good news for equestrian sports as well as for all of our partners".
Final entrants for the Games, due to take place in Caen from August 23 until September 7, are not due until July 21, but the deadline for provisional expressions of interest passed last month.
Among those set to compete for the first time will be African nations Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritius, along with South Korea, Kazakhstan, Peru, Palestine and Thailand.
Grobon also insisted that there was a high entry rate for all the disciplines, rather than just the three Olympic ones of dressage, jumping and three-day eventing, with an impressive total of 52 different countries set to compete in endurance events.
Nine more established equestrian nations, including the French hosts, are due to compete in all eight disciplines.
With little more than two months to go until the Games get underway, the next challenge will be a first test event taking place across jumping and dressage events from June 23 until June 26.
As well as providing an opportunity to showcase the renovated d'Ornano Stadium, usually the home of French football team Stade Malherbe Caen, where events will be held, the test event will also see the start of the mobilisation of the 3,000 volunteers following their selection earlier this year.
A total of 56 per cent of these volunteers are from the local Normandy area, another 37 per cent are from other areas of France, while seven per cent are from other countries.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
April 2014: Ticket sales up on previous editions but still 130,000 to sell for World Equestrian Games
November 2013: World Equestrian Games 2014 tickets go on general sale
November 2013: Land Rover revealed as official 2014 World Equestrian Games sponsor
August 2013: FEI marks one year to go to 2014 World Equestrian Games
August 2013: Royal winner as World Equestrian Games test events get underway with endurance