New Zealand’s eventing team for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games is stacked with both Olympic and WEG experience.
Equestrian Sports New Zealand has announced Sir Mark Todd, Tim and Jonelle Price, Blyth Tait and Dan Jocelyn as the eventing representatives at the fast-approaching Games which are being held in the United States from September 11-23.
New Zealand will compete a team of four – with three scores to count – and an individual combination; it hasn’t yet been announced who will ride as an individual.
Sir Mark has been named aboard McClaren, his 11-year-old Holsteiner gelding who has been with him since mid-2017. He’s highly rated by 62-year-old Todd, a seven-time Olympian and one who has competed at five WEGs. His medal haul from the pinnacle events is impressive, with two WEG team golds, a team bronze and an individual silver alongside six Olympic medals including back-to-back individual golds with the mighty Charisma. Both he and Blyth were on the teams who won gold at the inaugural WEG in Stockholm in 1990, and repeated the feat in Rome in 1998. Blyth was individual World Champion on both occasions.
“I am delighted to be on another WEG team,” says Mark, “and excited to be part of this great bunch of people. Everything crossed now for the next four weeks to get there safely and in top form.”
Mark also has two horses as reserves: his 2016 Rio Olympic Games horse Leonidas II, and they grey Kiltubrid Rhapsody, on whom he was sixth at Badminton this year.
Tim and Jonelle Price are very much the golden couple of eventing, with world rankings of four and five respectively. Back-to-back four-star winner Jonelle has been named aboard the speedy 15-year-old black mare Classic Moet, on whom she won Badminton this year. Jonelle (37) and Classic Moet were the best of the Kiwis at the 2014 WEG, fourth individually. Jonelle was a member of the bronze medal-winning New Zealand team at the London Olympic Games and also in the team at Rio.
“Once again it is an honour to be picked alongside some of the greats of our sport,” says Jonelle. “Classic Moet has had a super season thus far and we’ll be looking to continue that. Being the only female, I’ll need to keep the boys in line – but I am feeling up to the challenge!”
Tim has been named on 11-year-old Cekatinka, who was third at the CHIO Aachen and has been a very consistent horse for him in recent years. Tim has represented New Zealand at both Olympic and WEG level, and made the podium at four-star events in Kentucky, Luhmuhlen, Burghley and Pau.
“It is incredibly exciting to be able to go and represent New Zealand again,” says Tim (39). “I am very confident in this team and what sorts of results we might be able to deliver. I am excited to be included and looking forward to Tryon.”
Tim has two reserve horses: Ascona M and his Rio Olympic horse Ringwood Sky Boy.
Blyth (57) has represented New Zealand at four Olympic Games, where he has won a full set of medals, and three WEGs, for two individual and two team golds. He has been named aboard the 14-year-old Irish sport horse Dassett Courage, with his reserve horse Havanna. Blyth is over the moon.
“I am absolutely delighted. It has been a long time; I am very honoured to be part of such a strong team and plan to take the opportunity and give it my all.”
Mark, Tim and Blyth were on the team to win gold at the prestigious CHIO Aachen recently.
Dan Jocelyn (47) has been named aboard Grovine de Reve, a 10-year-old Irish-bred gelding who has been with him since mid-2017. Dan has also ridden for New Zealand at Olympic level, in 2004, and riding Silence he was 12th individually at the 2002 WEG in Jerez.
“It’s been 14 years since I last represented the country at a major championship so I am just so pleased to be on the team,” says Dan. “I have been working towards this for a long time. We have had some disappointments along the way, but I now have some great horsepower and they are all going very well. It is really exciting.”
The team reserves are Caroline Powell aboard Up Up and Away, and Jesse Campbell on Cleveland.
Go Kiwis! We’ll be right alongside them for full coverage from Tryon, here at www.horseandponymag.com and on our social media channels.