The 1960 Rome Olympic Games resulted in the creation of the Equestrian Sport Centre at Pratoni del Vivaro, which on that occasion, however, only hosted the dressage and the cross-country for Eventing. The centre returned to international fame in 1998 during the third edition of the FEI World Equestrian Games™, which still remains an honourable occasion for the Italian equestrian world since the country was a last-minute replacement when Ireland withdrew as organisers only four months before the WEG started.
The outcome of these championships was excellent, with the FEI expressing great satisfaction despite the little time available to the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation to prepare.
Eight years after they won double gold in Stockholm in 1990, New Zealand again dominated the Eventing competition when Blyth Tait, riding Ready Teddy, won a second individual gold and his team mate Mark Todd, riding Broadcast News, took home individual silver. The bronze medal went to Sweden’s Paula Törnqvist on Monaghan. The two other Kiwi team members were Sally Clark (Squirrel Hill) and Vaughn Jefferis (Bounce). France and the United States respectively won team silver and bronze.
Tait himself, 37 years old at the time and now 61, plays the leading role in the second episode of the ‘Road To Pratoni’ podcast created by Equiratings, in which the New Zealand rider speaks of that unforgettable experience.
Click HERE for the podcast
Photo: Blyth Tait riding Ready Teddy and the victorious New Zealand team at the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games™ - ph. FEI