The World Equestrian Games in Tyron could be the last in their current form ©FEI

The recent World Equestrian Games (WEG) in North Carolina may be the last in the current format.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) is reviewing the WEG’s future, with all options - including splitting it into two or more events of a more manageable scale - under consideration.

Interviewed in Lausanne before this week's General Assembly in Bahrain, Ingmar De Vos, FEI President, said: "We have not allocated 2022.

"There are still potential organisers interested, but we have put the process on hold because of the fact that we want now to make a thorough evaluation of the future of the WEG…

"One of the biggest challenges we have for the WEG is the size of the event.

"The number of athletes, number of horses, number of delegations…

"The event becomes bigger and bigger because more and more athletes and nations are capable of performing at that level…

"We are talking here about a mega-event and we also need to see how we can keep costs under control for organisers, keep it at a size that it is feasible to organise, but also, let's not forget [about] what the National Federations' perception of it is, because we feel that for many National Federations it is becoming more and more difficult to send delegations to one spot in the world.

"We also need to see what they expect.

"So we are in that process, we are doing an evaluation now, we will discuss this in November with our Board and probably we will come there to a conclusion on the way forward…

"We need to take our responsibility.

"What is best for the sport?

"What is best for the promotion of the sport?

"What is the best for our athletes and our national federations?"

Ingmar De Vos said "everything is possible" regarding the future of the World Equestrian Games ©Getty Images
Ingmar De Vos said "everything is possible" regarding the future of the World Equestrian Games ©Getty Images

Asked whether everything was up for debate, De Vos replied: "Yes.

"If you want to do the best for your sport, you need to look at all the options."

So it is possible you might break it up?

"I would say that everything is possible." 

The 55-year-old Belgian, who is set to be elected to a second four-year term as President on Tuesday (November 20), also addresses the issue in a document setting out his programme for 2018-2022, writing: "It is more and more difficult to find organisers that are capable of organising an event of such magnitude...

"We must have the courage to…ask if the WEG is still the best format…

"Whereas we still would promote multidisciplinary bids, we must ask ourselves if it is still realistic to impose a model integrating all our disciplines in one event.

"If we want to be successful we need to have a model that creates competition and can interest a lot of organisers rather than having to fight to find and motivate one organiser for WEG."

The 2018 host, Tryon in North Carolina, stepped in just two years before the event after Bromont in Canada, the original host, was axed.

The event ultimately featured 723 athletes and 727 horses.

This required what was billed as "the largest commercial airlift of horses in history", involving flights from six continents.

Severe weather linked to the passage of Hurricane Florence caused disruption at Tryon.

De Vos stated nonetheless in the interview that the 2018 WEG produced "fantastic sports".

The full Big Read interview can be read here.