N.S. equestrian hopes to ride out Hurricane Florence at N.C. competition

New Glasgow native Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu is competing at the World Equestrian Games four hours inland from coastal North Carolina.

New Glasgow native competing at the World Equestrian Games

Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu is in North Carolina to compete at the FEI World Equestrian Games. (FEI World Equestrian Games)

Nova Scotia's Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu is competing in what's nicknamed the Super Bowl of equestrian sport — the World Equestrian Games.

But it's not just the competition the New Glasgow native has to keep an eye on.

This year's games are in North Carolina, which is bracing for the impact of Hurricane Florence, expected to make landfall Friday.

Fraser-Beaulieu said while she is focused on her performance, she and her teammates have taken steps to get ready for the anticipated rains and high winds.

They've picked up emergency supplies, including extra water and food, and gas for their vehicles. Sandbags are at the ready in case water starts to flood the barn.

"Everybody right now is trying to stay as positive as we can," she told CBC News on Wednesday. "I feel very confident that if we have to make an evacuation plan, we will have one."

'Robust contingency plans'

Hundreds of horses and riders have already travelled from around the world to the Tryon International Equestrian Center in Mill Spring, N.C., for the 13-day competition.

In a statement on its website, the FEI World Equestrian Games said there are "robust contingency plans in place for use in the event of severe weather conditions and this includes sheltering plans for personnel and horses."

It said all barns are built to withstand winds up to 145 km/h. The statement said the centre became a refuge for horses from five states ahead of last year's Hurricane Irma.

Fraser-Beaulieu takes comfort in the fact they are about four hours inland.

"The locals here in Tryon say that ... yes, we for sure are going to get rain and winds but highly unlikely what the coast is going to get," she said.

Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu and her horse All In are getting ready for the World Equestrian Games. (Submitted by Sydney Sacre)

Meanwhile, she is anxious to get into the ring. Fraser-Beaulieu is Canada's top-ranked dressage rider and it's her first time competing at these games, which are held every four years. 

She was Canada's flag-bearer for Tuesday night's opening ceremonies and her first appearance on All In, her 13-year-old gelding Dutch warmblood, is Thursday. 

"I just can't wait to get down centre line [of the arena] and start competing," she said.

As for her mount, Fraser-Beaulieu said he's experienced enough to handle inclement conditions.

"My horse has been all over the world. He's competed in many different environments and weather and I have to say I'm very confident," she said. "I've competed in rain many times so we're ready."

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Amy Smith

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After spending more than a decade as a reporter covering the Nova Scotia legislature, Amy Smith joined CBC News in 2009 as a host for the supper hour and 11 p.m. news. She is also one of the hosts of the CBC show At The Table.