The selectors have announced their decision! Congratulations to the riders named to represent New Zealand at the Rio Olympics in August 2016. Our team consists of four eventers plus one travelling reserve, and one dressage rider.
Sir Mark Todd
Sir Mark Todd will be attending his eighth Olympics at Rio. He has already won two individual gold medals, the first at Los Angeles in 1984 and the second at Seoul in 1988, riding Charisma on both occasions. He has also won three bronze medals: an individual one in Sydney in 2000 riding Eyespy II, and and two team bronzes, the first at Seoul and the second at London in 2012 riding NZB Campino (he was 12th individually). He has also represented New Zealand in show jumping (at the Seoul Olympics, finishing 26th on Bago, and at Barcelona in 1992 on Double Take, finishing 37th) and was the eventing coach at the Athens Olympics in 2004 as well as being the New Zealand flagbearer in 1992. Voted Rider of the Century, Sir Mark is a multiple Burghley and Badminton winner, and has won just about every other major eventing title possible. He’s also won some significant racing trophies during his time as a thoroughbred racehorse trainer. Sir Mark lives in Wiltshire, England with his wife Carolyn.
NZB Campino and Leonidas III are the two horses he has available to take and selectors named Leonidas first but Sir Mark would be happy with either of them.
NZB Campino (‘Kinky’) was just a youngster when competing at the London Olympics in 2012 and since then has matured well, notching up some excellent results. He is a German-bred horse, by Contendro I out of Pink Dame (by Pinkus). Now aged 14, he won a 3* class at Tattersalls before finishing fifth at the 4* Luhmühlen in 2015. He has also had three-star wins at Ballindenisk (Ireland) and Houghton Hall. This year he went to Kentucky where he finished seventh, going at the end of the field in very wet cross-country conditions. He has had nine clear show jumping rounds out of 19 at three- and four-star FEI events. Kinky is owned by Peter and Pam Vela from New Zealand Bloodstock.
Leonidas II (‘Leo’) is also German-bred, a Holsteiner by Landos out of Nairobi III (by Parco XX). The 12-year-old was fourth at both the 2015 and this year’s Badminton, and was 14th in 2014. He was also sixth at Burghley in 2015. Sir Mark rode him at the World Equestrian Games in France in 2014 but had a fall coming out of the water. He has jumped clear in 13 of his 19 show jumping rounds in three- and four-star FEI classes. Leo is owned by Peter Cattell and Di Brunsden.
Jonelle Price (nee Richards) was a member of the New Zealand eventing team which won bronze at London 2012. She was also the highest placed New Zealander at the World Equestrian Games in 2014, when she was fourth on Classic Moet. She was the travelling reserve at the 2004 Athens Olympics and is one of the most dedicated and determined women in eventing. Jonelle is also an accomplished chef, and can often be found cooking up a storm for her team.
Coming from a family with no equestrian experience, she has worked very hard to rise up through the ranks, moving to the UK permanently in 2005 after being based in Canterbury, New Zealand for many years. She is originally from Motueka and travels back there, teaching at the local pony club, when she is in New Zealand. Together with her husband Tim, she now lives in Wiltshire, UK.
The horses Jonelle has to take to Rio are Classic Moet (‘Molly’) and Faerie Dianimo (‘Maggie’). The selectors would prefer Jonelle to take Faerie Dianimo. Classic Moet was her horse at WEG (recording the fastest time on cross-country), plus they finished fifth at Burghley in 2015. British-bred, Molly is by Classic out of Gamston Bubbles (by Bohemond) and is 13 years old. She is owned by Trisha Rickards and Jonelle. This year she finished tenth at Badminton and was fifth at Burghley and 20th at Badminton in 2015. In 2014 she was 12th at Luhmühlen. She has a tendency to have one or two show jumping rails at four-star events.
On Faerie Dianimo, Jonelle was second at Luhmühlen in 2015, beating Michael Jung on his superstar La Biosthetique Sam and finishing only a fraction of a point behind winner Ingrid Klimke. The stunning but highly strung grey 11-year-old mare won the CIC3* for 8- and 9-year-old horses in Blenheim and was recently third in the CIC3* at Bramham. The pair have show jumped 11 times in three- and four-star FEI events, jumping clear in eight of those. Maggie was bred in the UK by Trisha Rickards, a part-owner (along with Jacky Green), and is by Dimaggio out of Faerie Dazzler VII (by Catherston Dazzler).
Clarke Johnstone is the youngest member of the squad at just 29 but already has some impressive results to his name, including winning an eventing world cup qualifier aged 19. He was also a member of the bronze-medal-winning team at the 2010 World Championships in Kentucky. Originally from Otago, Clarke has a Bachelor of Commerce and now rides and coaches full time.
Clarke spent time in the UK after the World Championships, and returned to New Zealand in 2013. Since then he won every major eventing title New Zealand has on offer on Balmoral Sensation. The pair were third at their first four-star in Adelaide behind Shane Rose on his two horses. Clarke took ‘Ritchie’ to the UK earlier this year to compete against the world’s best. They finished fifth at this year’s Badminton Horse Trials, incurring just a few cross-country time faults. Clarke has successfully competed Ritchie in Grand Prix show jumping in New Zealand, and they have yet to have a rail in any three- or four-star eventing show jumping phase.
The beautiful grey 12-year-old gelding was produced by Donna Smith and Simone Kann. Clarke and his family purchased him at the end of 2013. The New Zealand warmblood was bred by David Goodin in Te Kauwhata, and is by Senator VDL out of Aberzanne (by Aberlou).
Jonathan Paget (Jock) has been named on the team with Clifton Lush. Jock is one of the few in the squad who hasn’t come up through the Pony Club system and he didn’t start eventing until his late teens. He rode in his first three-star class just two years after taking up the sport.
Jock won Badminton on his first attempt, riding Clifton Promise, joining Sir Mark Todd as the only New Zealand rider to have done so. Also on Promise, Jock was a member of the bronze-medal-winning New Zealand team at the 2012 London Olympics and finished 10th individually. He was individually seventh at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010. Promise was retired from top competition earlier this year.
Jock was born in Wellsford, Northland, in November 1983 but spent most of his childhood in Australia. He trained and worked as a bricklayer before taking up riding full time. He is married to Tegan and the couple live in Wiltshire, UK.
Clifton Lush is a 17-year-old chestnut gelding, a New Zealand thoroughbred by Half Iced out of All for Love who was by Le Grande Seigneur. He was previously ridden by fellow Kiwi, Joe Meyer.
With Jock, Lush has had a good record at Badminton. In 2012 he was fifth, 14th in 2013 and sixth this year. He won the British Open in 2013 and was fifth at Burghley in 2011 and 2012. In 2013 he was withdrawn before show jumping at Burghley when in contention for a top placing. He had most of 2014 off recovering from injury.
Lush’s show jumping record is varied. He has had five clear show jumping rounds out of 16 in the last two years and only one clear at four-star level (back in 2011), with the other four-star rounds incurring four faults. He is owned by Frances Stead and Lucy Allison.
Jock also has Clifton Signature in the mix but he told us last night that both Tim and Blyth’s horses come before this horse in the selector’s preferences.
Julie will be making her Olympic debut at the age of 62! She is from the Manawatu district and has a long background in equestrian. It hasn’t always been dressage, though: she represented her pony club at NZPC Eventing ‘Champs’. Julie has two children and is married to David. She now specialises in dressage and holds the Australasian record for Grand Prix Freestyle to Music (76.3%), which she achieved with her beloved Vom Feinsten (‘Steiny’).
At the Horse of the Year Show in 2015 he set his first New Zealand records in both the Grand Prix Kur (76.02%) and the Grand Prix Special (69.94%). Julie is currently ranked 121 in the FEI Individual dressage rankings.
She recently travelled to Europe to compete and clinch the spot in the Olympic team.
Vom Feinsten is German-bred, by Fidermark out of Wellcome (by Weltmeyer) and is a chestnut gelding, aged 13. He is owned by Julie and David.
Tim Price has been named as first reserve.
Tim is originally from Canterbury and comes from a very horsey background, with mum Raewyn having competed at NZPCA Eventing Championship level. Like many of our eventing squad, Tim spent a lot of time at pony club, attending the Oxford branch, and show jumped to Grand Prix level before specialising in eventing. He can ride the most difficult of horses, and indeed earlier in his career took on the buckers and the rearers and got them sorted out.
Tim was in the New Zealand team at the World Equestrian Games on his lovely horse Wesko but did not complete the difficult cross-country. With Wesko, he has won Luhmühlen, been second at Kentucky and third at Pau. Unfortunately Wesko suffered an injury which took him out of contention for Rio selection.
Tim’s possible horses for the 2016 Olympics are Ringwood Sky Boy and Bango.
Bango (‘Uno’) is 10 years old, 16.2hh and is an Irish Sport Horse. He is by Garrison Royal out of No Sale and is owned by the Numero Uno Syndicate. He has had two four-star starts. His first was at Luhmühlen in 2015 and he finished in 15th place, with one rail show jumping. His second was at Kentucky, where he and Tim were eliminated in the cross-country when Tim fell off after an awkward attempt at the second to last fence when looking like they may have been the only ones to make the time.
At three-star level, he has jumped two clear show jumping rounds out of his last five, and finished second (Millstreet), fourth (Burnham Market) and fifth recently at Bramham.
Ringwood Sky Boy is 13 years old, another Irish-bred horse, by Courage II out of Sky Lassie. Originally nicknamed ‘the Bolter’ he is now more often called ‘Oz’. He finished fourth at the Luhmühlen four-star in June this year but at this year’s Badminton he stumbled badly on landing over the Vicarage Vee, tipping Tim out off. He was second at Burghley in 2015, 15th at Badminton the same year, and ninth in 2014. In his 22 show jumping rounds at three- and four-star level, he has only gone clear on eight occasions, but reassuringly, during his last four rounds he has left all the poles up. He is owned by Robert Taylor, Selwood.com.
Congratulations everyone. Also thinking of Blyth Tait who was so close, named as second reserve, and we look forward to seeing him in the New Zealand team again soon.