One of Europe’s favourite equestrian venues, the Rocca di Papa Equestrian Sports Centre in Pratoni del Vivaro near Rome, will stage a 360° Test Event before hosting the FEI Driving World Championships™ in September.
The event will run over three days and is part of a busy few weeks at the world class centre in the heart of the stunning 15,000 hectare Parco dei Castelli Romani.
The Driving follows on from the FEI Eventing Nations Cup 2022™ (12-15 May) where medals for the Italian Eventing Champions were also decided. Holding the Eventing and Driving over consecutive weekends mirrors the format for the World Championships later in the year by keeping the ridden and driven disciplines separate while using the same venue.
Whereas in September the Driving will only be open to the horse fours, the May event is welcoming Singles, Pairs and Four-in-Hands, with classes for both horses and ponies.
Seven horse fours are entered and include Hungarian father and son, József Dobrovitz, Snr. and Jnr., who are multiple national and international champions. They are joined by János Papp and together they will form a formidable team and set the pace for the other drivers. Benjamin Aillaud (FRA) has some of the most stylish horses on the circuit and will also be a contender for the top spot, as will his countryman Anthony Horde. Travelling all the way from the USA is Misdee Wrigley Miller, while the home nation is represented by Luca Cassottana.
With a further 18 Italian competitors in the single and pair classes, competitors are also travelling from Belgium, Austria and Slovenia to compete.
An experienced team of FEI Driving officials will be led by President of the Ground Jury, Anne Marie Turbè (FRA), with Stefan Keszycki (POL) and Pia Skar (DEN). Josef Middendorf (GER), an FEI course designer for 23 years, has designed the obstacles, assisted by Gabriele Panier Suffat (ITA). Fresh from designing the Indoor World Cup course in Leipzig, Jeroen Houterman (NED) is Technical Delegate.
Heading up the team in Pratoni itself is veteran Show Director, Giuseppe della Chiesa, who was also Director of the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games™. For the Driving, he has called on the team behind the successful event in Aachen to assist.
“The Test Events in May will be an effective trial. We are all motivated and delighted to once again see Pratoni del Vivaro at the centre of the world’s attention.” – Giuseppe Della Chiesa
The historic venue situated to the east of Rome covers 120 hectares and hosted the Eventing during the 1960 Olympic Games. It is renowned for staging multidisciplinary events but is ideal for disciplines which require greater space such as Eventing, Driving and Endurance. Recently, it has been extensively reorganised after the closure and sale of the venue, and has used this as an opportunity to adapt to the different demands of the modern sport, particularly the technical requirements of the cross country and marathon elements in Eventing and Driving.
The Italian Equestrian Sports Federation has overseen the rejuvenation and investment, and work has been completed on new infrastructures such as training and competition areas, which have used the most modern and sophisticated materials, the 320 stables which include a veterinary clinic, and the athletes’ areas with offices and a restaurant. As well as being dress rehearsals, the Test Events aim to help ensure that everything runs smoothly ahead of the World Championships.
Friday 20 May – Dressage
Saturday 21 May – Marathon
Sunday 22 May – Cones & Presentation
Click HERE for the Master list
Jozsef Dobrovitz - FEI/Kriszta Hajdu
Pratoni del Vivaro - Massimo Argenziano