There has been a late change this morning in Rio to the starting line-up of New Zealand’s Olympic eventing team. Tim Price is joining his wife Jonelle, Sir Mark Todd and Clarke Johnstone in the team after an unlucky stable accident has seen Jock Paget’s Clifton Lush cut his cheek.
Apparently, Lush cut his cheek on a pipe outside the stable that had somehow become exposed during the night. The cut required suturing and vets have been happy with his progress. Under their expert supervision Clifton Lush has been kept in work and has been working well. However, despite the positive daily progress, it has been decided that the horse should be given further time to heal to make a full recovery.
“Obviously it is very disappointing for me and Clifton Lush’s owners but we’ve decided this is best for the horse,” says Jock. “It’s been a real team effort from the Rio 2016 Veterinary Hospital and our own vet Christiana Ober – they have all given Lush exceptional care and attention.”
Clifton Lush was trotted up in the first horse inspection, and there was considerable deliberation from the Ground Jury; longer than any other competitor. They then asked Jock to trot the horse again, and after yet another deliberation, gave him the nod.
Tim Price will start on Ringwood Sky Boy, who has had strong recent four-star form. Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance director Sarah Dalziell-Clout describes them as an exciting and experienced combination. He will trail-blaze for the team.
The all-important team order has been announced. Tim will be followed by Sir Mark Todd aboard Leonidas II.
Clarke and Balmoral Sensation will take the third slot, which should suit the pair nicely. By that stage, they will get a good steer as to how the course is riding.
Jonelle Price aboard Faerie Dianimo will be the last combination out, which shows that the team are really picking her for a medal: usually, the strongest member goes last.
All five horses (including Lush as already mentioned) passed the first inspection this morning. “This is a very strong team who we are confident will do us all proud,” says Sarah.
For Tim, the switch is bittersweet. “I am really proud to make the team, but it’s disappointing that it comes off the back of the misfortune of my team-mate Jock and his connections,” said Tim.
We’re sure he will do his own horse and connections proud.
The Germans have made a change too, with Julia Krajewski and Samourai du Thot replacing Andreas Ostholt and So Is Et.
The country draw has also been done. Canada is first out followed by France, Ireland, Italy, Australia, Great Britain, Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, USA, and Brazil. There are individual riders slotting in at various places, but in the draw the New Zealanders always follow a Dutch rider.