Arun Tor, the long-time international dressage ride of Ferdi Eilberg, has died aged 23.

Vivienne Sturt bought “Tor”, a part-bred Cleveland Bay, in 1986. She sent the then three-year-old to Ferdi, and the pair began their long, successful career.

“He was my friend,” said Ferdi. “He was always so insecure in himself, we really grew together — we seemed to be braver together than we were alone.”

The pair represented Britain through the 1990s, winning team silver at the 1993 European Championships in Lipica, Slovenia, and as part of the 1994 and 1998 World Championship teams at The Hague and Rome.

The latter competition is one Ferdi describes as a high point. “We made a comeback after twice being listed as reserves,” he recalled. “And it was that team that secured Britain a place in the Sydney Olympics.”

The much-loved gentle giant retired from competition in 2002 to the Dorset home of Mrs Sturt, with a 12.2hh Welsh pony companion. He suffered a fatal heart attack on 18 January.

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (9 February, ’06)
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