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Olympic Equestrians  
 
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Tait went to his first Olympic Games in 1992, winning individual bronze and team silver in three day eventing. He collected two more medals at the Atlanta games in 1996, a team bronze and an individual gold.

Tait was named captain of the 2000 equestrian team. He was also given the signal honor of being selected to bear New Zealand's flag in the opening ceremony at the Sydney games.

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New Zealand was expected to dominate equestrian events in 2000. The country fielded an exceptionally strong team, including Tait's partner of ten years, Paul O'Brien (b. 1968). As things developed, however, the Sydney games turned into a nightmare.

Tait's beloved horse Chesterfield died suddenly while in quarantine before the games began. His other stellar mount, Ready Teddy, with whom he had won the gold medal in Atlanta and who was arguably the best horse that he had ever ridden, came up lame and was forced to withdraw. A series of other misfortunes ensued, and New Zealand came away with no medals in team events and only one individual bronze.

Among the casualties was O'Brien's horse Enzed, who had to be withdrawn for medical reasons after the cross-country portion of the three-day event.

Like Tait, O'Brien has had a lifelong love of horses. As a child he learned to ride ponies on his aunt's farm and began to hone his skills at a pony club.

Although O'Brien's interest in equestrian sport never waned, he studied for a career in a more conventional field and became a mortgage broker, a job that he did not find satisfying. "I knew that it wasn't for me and decided to check out the horse scene," he stated. "I thought I would give it a go in the U.K. for a while and was fortunate enough to get some good horses to ride there."

It was O'Brien's move to England that brought him together with Tait, who had also gone to Britain and who had a training yard there. Tait was first O'Brien's mentor—"He has trained me from day one, so he has been the main influence on me and my riding career," said O'Brien—and then the relationship grew into a loving one.

Tait and O'Brien left England in 2005 so that Tait could go into a horses sales business with his father.

Although neither Tait nor O'Brien has again ridden for New Zealand in the Olympics, both took part in the Kiwi team's appearance in Beijing in 2008, O'Brien as Olympic selector and Tait as team manager.

Edward Gal

Dressage specialist Edward Gal (b. 1970) of the Netherlands began his pursuit of the sport at the age of fourteen, studying with the riding association De Spreng at Rien van der Schaft but then transferring to the yard of Anky van Grunsven, one of Holland's leading equestrians.

Gal also demonstrated his talent as a trainer, taking fourth place in the PAVO Cup--a championship for young horses--in 1998. He has gone on to achieve considerable success both in training horses and coaching riders.

Gal had particularly good results in competition in 2005-2006, when he won three silver medals--one for his individual performance at the World Cup finals and two as a member of the Dutch team at the European Championship and the World Equestrian Games.

Subsequently, Gal seemed to have found his dream horse in Moorlands Totilas (nicknamed Toto), with whom he set a record score in Grand Prix Freestyle at the Olympia World Cup qualifying competition in 2009 before earning three gold medals at the World Equestrian Games the following year.

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