NZ Rio horses finalised

There was one more big decision about our Olympic eventing team: which horses to pick for Sir Mark, Jonelle and Tim. This has now been made and the horses announced.

Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II, fourth at Badminton (Image Libby Law)
Sir Mark Todd and Leonidas II, fourth at Badminton (Image Libby Law)

Sir Mark Todd, Jonelle Price and Tim Price have been in the luxurious position of each having two horses available to take to the 2016 Olympic Games. The decision has now been made as to which horses the three riders will take to Rio.

Leonidas II, Fairie Dianimo and Ringwood Sky Boy will be on the plane at the end of this month, heading to Brazil.

Leonidas II has been a consistent performer for Sir Mark at 3* and 4* level and was the horse Sir Mark competed on at the Worlds in 2014. The horse has twice placed fourth at Badminton (2016 and 2015) and is regularly in the top 10 at events. He is owned by Di Brunsden, Peter Cattell and Sir Mark Todd. Di herself was a very accomplished rider and is one of the innovaters behind the new Event Rider Masters series, which is about half way through its first year.

Leo’s last start was in fact in the last leg of the Event Rider Masters but he finished well out of contention after a rocky and uncharacteristic show jumping round, and then jumped on the wrong side of the flags during cross-country, incurring 20 penalties.

Leo is by Landos out of Nairobi III who was by Parco XX. He is a 12-year-old bay German-bred Holsteiner gelding.

Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo on their way to second at Luhmuhlen in 2015 (Image: Libby Law)
Jonelle Price and Faerie Dianimo on their way to second at Luhmuhlen in 2015 (Image: Libby Law)

Jonelle Price has always been up front that Faerie Dianimo (‘Maggie’) was her preferred Rio horse so there are no surprises for the mare to be named today. Maggie placed seventh at the CHIO in Aachen last weekend. She had two very unusual rails in the show jumping round, the first time she has had faults in this phase since 2014, but apparently the late draw didn’t go in her favour, as shadows in the arena caused the horse some issues. She has rarely been out of the top 10 with Jonelle. In 2014 she won the CIC3* class for eight- and nine-year-olds at Blenheim, starting a run of great results, including fourth in the CCI4* at Pau (France) and second in the CCI4* at Luhmühlen, finishing just 0.10 behind winner Ingrid Klimke and in front of the champion Michael Jung on Sam.

Maggie’s owners are Trisha Rickards (who bred the mare), Jacky Green and Jonelle. She is British-bred, by Dimaggio out of Faerie Dazzler VIII (by Catherston Dazzler), and is an 11-year-old grey British sporthorse.

Tim Price (Ringwood Sky Boy. (Image: Libby Law)
Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy. (Image: Libby Law)

Our travelling reserve, Tim Price, will be taking Ringwood Sky Boy to Rio. ‘Oz’ is owned by Robert Taylor, Varenna Allen, Tim and  He has some good form, fourth at Luhmühlen CCI4* this year and in 2015 was second in the CCI4* at Burghley. He is an Irish-bred horse, by Courage II out of Sky Lassie (by Sky Boy) and is a 13-year-old bay gelding.

The other riders making up the team, Jock Paget and Clarke Johnstone, had already been named on their horses, Clifton Lush and Balmoral Sensation.

This announcement finalises the Rio team. Happy travels everyone!