By Kim Lundin
Photography: FEI/Massimo Argenziano
The eventing World Championship podium in Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy, heralded new beginnings. Individual gold for the young Yasmin Ingham and Banzai du Loir with an amazing 23.2 penalties, and yet another stellar podium place for Julia Krajewski and Amande de B’Neville, ahead of experienced eventer Tim Price with Falco who took bronze.
Price, in fact, finished with the same penalties as Britain’s Roz Canter riding her new star, Lordships Graffalo – with the pair finishing their cross-country round closest to the optimum time being the determining factor in the final result. Remarkably, just 0.2 penalities separated second to fourth place.
Pratoni del Vivaro, an ancient volcanic crater hugged by lush hillsides and cradled by historic towns, comes with equestrian history. It was the site of equestrian events for the Rome 1960 Olympic Games, hosted the eventing phase of the Rome 1998 World Championships, as well as European Championships twice, in 1995 and 2007. The ground conditions for such an event are exceptional; the volcanic soil remains springy, even during dry spells, and when heavy rain falls it drains fast, never leaving the ground muddy. The downside is the constant dust that sprinkles every surface – indoors as well as outdoors. Luckily, the horses didn’t seem to mind, and rather enjoyed this high-altitude green valley with its surrounding hills.
A true cross-country challenge
With such an undulating landscape, eventing in Pratoni is demanding, however, with the course designer including turns and climbs that were challenging for all. In fact, the overall result following the cross-country told the real story.
This phase of the World Championship welcomed a large crowd of over 20,000 spectators, who were gripped with excitement as 87 horse-and-rider partnerships tackled the course designed by Guiseppe della Chiesa. Seventy-two horses completed the course, 11 inside the time, three retiring, and 13 eliminated.
When it came to Sunday’s showdown, four combinations withdrew ahead of the final horse inspection, leaving 68 to enter the showjumping arena, where performances have improved a lot over the years. Yes, there were still rounds that could be considered something of a pole massacre, and 18 horses exceeded 16 faults. In comparison 13 jumped clear – which can perhaps be attributed to the number of entries with pure jumping pedigrees, avoiding the previously disastrous affair in this final eventing phase... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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