A total of 42 countries participated in the 1998 FEI World Equestrian Games™.
- Jumping 86 participants (28 countries)
- Dressage 84 participants (29 countries)
- Eventing 91 participants (23 countries)
- Driving 46 participants (15 countries)
- Endurance Conducted in Abu Dhabi, 175 participants (38 countries)
- Vaulting 75 participants (19 countries)
Countries participating for the first time: Bulgaria, Greece, Israel, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania and Venezuela
A total of 42 nations competed in all disciplines and 86 riders took part in the show jumping championships which were staged in the slightly jaded, but nevertheless practical, Flaminio football stadium in the city. The weather gods were not helpful and torrential rain left the arena under water on the show jumping championship warm-up day, but the excellent footing recovered superbly.
The Germans took team gold for the second time in succession but were denied a second double of victories when Brazil's Rodrigo Pessoa became the youngest-ever winner of the individual title at just 25 years of age. With a narrow lead after the first three competitions, Pessoa was joined in the change-horse final by defending team and individual champion Franke Sloothaak from Germany (who eventually came third), Willi Melliger from Switzerland whose big, graceful grey Calvaro was the revelation of the show jumping event and Frenchman Thierry Pomel. Sloothaak, Lars Nieberg and the Beerbaum brothers won the team competition ahead of France and Great Britain.
Another sensation of Rome 1998 was Nelson Pessoa, father of Rodrigo. He had finished fourth in Buenos Aires way back in 1966 and fifth individually at The Hague in 1994. He showed that, at the age of 62, he had lost none of his sparkle when slotting into third place in the opening speed leg, eventually finishing in 11th place with Baloubet du Rouet.
1998 saw another format change to the discipline, as it became clear that the format of two individual titles would not find favour with the Olympic powers. The Grand Prix served for the team medals and as qualification for the Grand Prix Special. The tallied up scored from the Grand Prix and Special qualified 12 for the Kür to Music. The individual champion was the rider with the highest percentage from the three competitions. Rodrigo Pessoa of Brazil came top on Gandini Lianos, followed by Thierry Pomel of France and Franke Sloothak of Germany. Germany won the team title with a margin of 80 points over the Netherlands, with Sweden taking bronze. Spain came in seventh place, the first time they had fielded a team, with Beatriz Ferrer-Salat and three riders from the riding school in Jerez de la Frontera. There were a record number of 84 riders from 29 countries.
Blyth Tait of New Zealand, this time on Ready Teddy, repeated his World championship win of 1990 and also claimed his second team gold with his teammates Mark Todd, Vaughn Jefferis and Sally Clark. France and the United States came second and third in the team competition while Mark Todd claimed individual silver and Paula Tornqist of Sweden the bronze. Ninety-one horses started the competition, held in Pratoni del Vivaro, site of the Olympic three-day event of 1960.
At the third FEI World Equestrian Games™ Werner Ulrich became the first driver to win a world title with both pairs and four-in-hands. Michael Freund (GER) was second, Ton Monhemius of the Netherlands third. The competition was held in Pratoni del Vivaro, site of the 1960 Olympic three-day event, in rather unpleasant weather. Tucker Johnson made his first four-in-hand championship debut, finishing an excellent fifth. The Netherlands won gold, with Germany and Sweden in silver and bronze positions.
The Endurance event during the 1998 WEG took place not in Rome but in the United Arab Emirates in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. With generous travel, transport and horse support, the championships attracted a record field of 175 riders from 38 nations. Valerie Kanavy of the United States on her new horse High Winds Jedi won the title ahead of Italian and Japanese competitors. New Zealand took the team title ahead of the USA and Australia.
Germany won the team title with Switzerland and the United States taking silver and bronze. Nadia Zülow of Germany won the females title with Devon Maitozo (USA) taking the male crown. Kerith Jemon of the USA and Janine Oswald of Germany came second and third while in the male titles Matthias Lang (FRA) and Henrik Ossenbrink (GER) took silver and bronze.