From the Web to the arena… in 1982

di Liana Ayres

Searching the web for fragments of beautiful international dressage, we can come across some true gems. They may not be well-known because they date back to the period in which the digital universe had not yet exploded, but this doesn’t make them any less fascinating. And if those images are also of the former members of the Italian national team – the desire grows to bring them to the attention of the social media generations.

The video we have retrieved is that of the Gran Prix of the World Dressage Championships of 1982 in Lausanne. Stamps were even issued for the event, a common occurrence at the time.

It was the fifth edition of the World Dressage Championships, and in that pre-WEG period, each discipline “ran” on its own; a bit like we will begin to see again this year.

At the top of the podium in Lausanne were three icons in the sport: Reiner Klimke, Christine Stückelberger, and Uwe Schulten-Baumer.

As for the team podium, the order of the flags was West Germany (Reiner Klimke, Gabriela Grillo, Uwe Schulten-Baumer), then Switzerland and Denmark.

In the video available on YouTube, we see the initial parade in which Fausto Puccini and Daria Fantoni appeared, who did not participate in the World Championships though, where the only Italian in the arena was Enzo Truppa with Scorpio.

At that time, in fact, simultaneously with the World Championships, a CDI was held with competition at the St. George/Intermediate I level. And the horses for that engagement were exactly the ones seen in the parade: Daria Fantoni with Bombay, Fausto Puccini with Goldjunge, and Dr. Truppa with Ramon.

The video recording that shows Enzo Truppa and Scorpio is the Grand Prix of the World Championship, that at the time was a truly challenging class. Maybe a bit too challenging!! It lasted more than 12 minutes and the video does not reproduce the final part because in the shift from the original recording to digital, the last piece was lost, that consisted of two circles, first right and then left, of 10 mt in passage and then an additional piaffé before the final halt. Yet it still remains a document to be enjoyed…

Exactly 40 years later, we asked Dr. Truppa for some technical comments on that historic class.

“Scorpio was a Hungarian horse whose father was Lipizzaner and whose mother was Arabic, trained by Claire Koch and Henry Chammartin, who were my trainers when I bought it from Claire Koch. At the 1982 World Championships, on the other hand, I was assisted by my long-time trainer George Theodorescu. The canter zig zag entailed six additional strides in addition to the one in use nowadays, and I was the one, when I was a members of the FEI Dressage Committee, who proposed a reduction by six strides giving the example of my own horse (Scorpio). With him I hadn’t had any problems, but I pointed out that with a horse bigger than Scorpio, with a bigger canter, this figure could cause a deterioration of the gait. In regard to the length and complexity of the test, in addition to the canter zig zag and six strides more than what is currently done, we must note the quantity of extended and medium gaits. Extended trot followed by medium trot in the corners, medium canter with change of canter in X, followed by extended canter and then the whole sequence of 4-4-6 backwards steps (schauchel)… I must say that Scorpio executed it perfectly, along with the two walk pirouettes, and even finally the backwards forwards steps and immediate transition to passage. It was a truly demanding test for riders, judges, but above all for the horses.”

Our combination’s ride at the World Championships was evaluated by the jury composed of M. Koeppel (in E), H. Schütte (in H), W. Niggli (in C), J. Pot (in M), and G. Nyblaeus (in B).

An indelible memory…

If you want to add at the end that as the only Italian, making my debut at the World Championships and being entirely unknown to the judges, among many champions, perhaps I suffered from the effect of being “a newcomer from a country where dressage was at a pioneering level,” as many colleagues told me, including George Theodorescu but it was entirely understandable at the time. The ride was anyway evaluated with a score that ultimately was very encouraging, considering that it was our debut in a World Championship: for me, for the horse, and for Italy…

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