Tag Archives: eventing

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Horse Scout Real: Joseph Murphy

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Horse Scout catches up with eventing advocate Joseph Murphy to find out his thoughts on the UK’s most prestigious three day event.

Why is Badminton such a special event to you?

For me Badminton is the top of the sport of Eventing . Everyone in the world wants to ride there but when you get there the occasion is as big as the course itself. You need to be on your A game!

What is your most memorable moment there?

My most memorable moment was the first time I walked through the Badminton stable arch on Electric Cruise Cross Country day. The atmosphere just hit me. It was unbelievable, I knew then it was a big day.

What is your top Cross Country tip?

I have made a lot of mistakes in this phase, and they for sure have shaped my Cross Country riding. Riding in point-to-points helped me ride at speed, but Ginny Elliot really broke down the technical side of the Cross Country in my earlier 4 star years and made me understand that each type of fence had a particular way of riding it.

What is your top Show Jumping tip?

The show jumping phase has not always been a strong phase for me, but working with Ian Fearon for so many years has definitely made this phase more consistent. He always says “Joe on Sunday now you need to turn into a show jumping rider“. I never forget it!

What is your top Dressage tip?

This phase I struggle a little more with than the others, but I always seem to pick jumpers to ride and as a result the dressage can be bit more difficult.

Any horses I buy now have to have the temperament to do this phase. I am determined to turn the tables! At the moment, the advice to myself is appreciate the horses I have and get the best from them, but in the future try and put myself in a better position to be more competitive after the dressage.

What are your thoughts on the 2019 Badminton Cross Country course? 

Badminton is Badminton and it’s never easy which is to be expected. What will play the biggest part come closer to the weekend is the weather. All the horses and riders are the top drawer of the sport, and the riders will all question different fences relative to what they’re riding. Jumping into the Lake is a big thrill!

How is Sportsfield Othello feeling?

He’s a fabulous horse with great heart – he feels fantastic! He had his final run on Saturday in an Advanced at Whittington Manor and was great! Running this close to a big event like Badminton has its risks, but also going to Badminton not prepared properly is an even bigger one for me.

Horse Scout is thrilled to have you as the Eventing brand ‘Face’ of the Horse Scout Collection. Which product do you believe you’ll get the most wear from?

The Horse Scout ears are a favourite of mine, they literally blend with any colour of horse. They are very stylish but most importantly the design of them helps Sportsfield Othello in the big atmosphere to keep the noise at bay and help him concentrate.

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Oliver Towend Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event

Horse Scout advocate makes history at Land Rover Kentucky Three Day Event

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It was “champagne Monday” in Horse Scout HQ today, as our advocates have made us proud again. The boy is already world number one, but Oliver Townend has just become the first British rider to take back to back wins at the Land Rover Kentucky 5*, America’s most prominent Three-Day event.  “This is one of the biggest events in the world and it’s an eventing childhood dream to win at the highest level” Oliver said, after his steely nerves delivered the clear round that was essential to win. Oliver was riding the 14-year-old Irish bred, Cooley Master Class which is owned by Angela Hislop. The Ramiro B sired gelding was also his partner when he lifted the Land Rover title last year.

Oliver led after both dressage and cross-country, but came into the final phase with less than a pole between him and third place. Last year’s Burghley winner Tim Price and Xavier Faer produced a stunning clear to add to the pressure. It was then the turn of the popular American rider, Boyd Martin and Tseterleg. Boyd received the biggest applause of the day by the home crowd, after he too, jumped a clear round. You could have heard a mouse squeak as Oliver entered the arena, his face displaying complete focus and determination. The crowds were suitably rapturous after he produced a faultless round and Oliver delighted them further as he hugged his horse.

“I am so proud, I can’t say what this means” he said, fighting back tears as he explained how his horse Cooley Master Class, has not been the most straightforward. “It’s a huge team effort, it hasn’t been an easy journey, but we always believed in him and the horse is pure class. It was just my job to press the buttons at the right time and he delivered again.”

British based Tim Price, was delighted with the British bred Xavier Faer who is owned by his breeder Trisha Rickards together with Nigella Hall and Tim. Although it was no doubt on his mind that a win here, would have put him in contention for the lucrative Rolex Grand Slam after he claimed the win at Burghley last year.

Britain’s Piggy French moved up from fifth to fourth on Quarrycrest Echo, the horse she took to Tryon for the World Equestrian Games last year.

Oliver claimed the lions share of the $400,000 prize pot as well as a Land Rover Discovery for a year. We look forward to following him and our other advocates Joseph Murphy and Emily king, at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials this week.

Official Highlights Film From Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event 2019

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BADMINTON CROSS COUNTRY… REVISITING THE PAST

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Welcome to the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials 

Wed 1st- Sun 5th May 2019

 

This week Horse Scout got a sneak peek at the cross-country course for the 70thedition of Badminton Horse Trials. “It feels like something we might have seen 25 years ago” was how Hugh Thomas described it. Big open ditches, making full use of the lips, dips, mounds, general topography and natural features of this beautiful park. This is a course that retains that “ride on your wits” cross-country feel which it has once again become famed for in recent years.

 

Eric Winter is now in his third year as course designer of Badminton and his philosophy in course design has remained the same throughout. “My aim is to put to the test, the relationship between horse and rider and the training of the horse.”

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The course runs clockwise around the park this year. As always, riders will start in the main arena before heading out to the Staircase fence- a sizeable log parallel down the two stone steps and a tight left turn to another log parallel. “It is an open start to the course to allow riders to get into a rhythm. Unlike last year where there were some early challenges, I didn’t want to break the rhythm early.”

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Things start to get pretty serious by fence 10- The Shogun Sport Hollow. After a long gallop which could be influential before a particularly technical fence, there is a funneling pagoda to direct riders to a narrow coffin ditch which is eerily, even the shape of a coffin, and a left or right choice of chunky, narrow tree trunks out. This is where the new FEI red flag rule could come into play. Where riders will be penalized 15 penalties if the whole horse does not pass between red and white flags- so that is shoulders as well as hindquarters. A rule which has not been well received by leading riders, course designers and officials… who shall remain nameless!

 

Fence 11 and 12 is the massive KBIS Bridge over the infamous Vicarage Ditch. The double numbering allows for a two jump escape route. The next fence has been used in some form at Badminton since 1949 and this year involves the notorious bank followed by a narrow brush roll top.

 

The Rolex Grand Slam Trakehner follows. Whilst impressive to the spectator, it’s big log over gaping ditch should not cause too many problems at this level. Then on to the Hildon Water Pond at 15ab which is perhaps a little softer than previous years with a big drop in before turning to a log trough in the water. Eric describes this as a run and jump fence and a bit of a let up before another tricky part of the course. Possibly an opportunity to make up time, although Eric pointed out that in the last two years of running, not one combination of horse and rider had finished on their dressage score.

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The Vicarage Ditch to the Mirage Water at 17abc and 18 is possibly one of the greatest challenges on course. An enormous right-angled corner is proceeded by an open ditch situated on a dip in the bank which will definitely unsettle some horses. Then a level four strides to another fearsome corner fence. “This is the sort of fence you would see 40 years ago- we could see all sorts of jumps over the ditch which adds to the unpredictability of the course,” Eric says.

 

There is no let up just yet and 19ab, the Nyetimber Heights involves a steep slope to an airy brush on top of a mound. Before plummeting down into the dip and up for a choice of four narrow scrubbing brush skinnies.

 

Finally, there is a course let-up fence at 20 before rider head on to three asymmetric corners in a row at the YoungMinds Brushes. YoungMinds- who help young people with mental illness and struggles is the chosen charity at this year’s event.

 

Fence 24 is an impressive affair to give riders their first taste of the infamous Badminton Lake. The jump is basically a large parallel but the design, with a pump station extending over the Lake to create a waterfall effect, which might unsettle some horses. Especially when added to the considerable crowd that always flock to the Lake. The brush fence in has been pulled back so riders land on grass before entering the Lake, then a step up and the iconic Mitsubishi pick-ups which this year have a trailer attached with dome-shaped spruce which is the part jumped by riders and horses.

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The Lakeside spectators get value for money as riders double back to the Wadworth Lower Lake at 26, a triple bar approached through the water.  After an inviting hedge comes the Voltaire Design Huntsmans Close which involves a birch parallel to a birch spread corner on a right turn.

 

To avoid a flat out gallop Eric has the Eclipse Cross Chicane (29 ab), two open ditch brushes on a U bend out and in of the deer park before the HorseQuest Quarry (30 ab) looms. This is less complicated than in recent years. In over the stone wall to a drop then up and out over a second wall.

 

Even though we are nearly home, Badminton is no place for complacency and we have seen many a rider tip up in the final few fences. The Hayracks at 31ab a roll top spread to a roll top skinny, then fence 32 the Rolex Trunk which is a sculpted log.

 

Back into the arena is the Mitsubishi Final Mount at 33, a fence designed by a member of the public for a competition a few years ago, where riders jump a pair of sculpted wooden saddles.

 

As ever a good completion will be an exhilarating experience for both the old pros and especially for those whose first experience of Badminton this will be.

 

 

Amy Murphy Racing

FEMALE FOCUS AT THE FESTIVAL

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We are proud of the fact that Horse Scout is an enterprise run by women. We not only love what we do both in business and in our equestrian pursuits, but we have never seen our gender as a limitation. So you could say that for us, every day is International Women’s Day. We also go to great lengths to provide as much coverage of great female equestrian athletes as we do. This week we will be championing the great female jockeys heading to The Magners Cheltenham Festival. Last year history was made when there were four female winners at The Festival, which really is the Olympics of Jumps Racing. The jockey entries have not yet been confirmed but we are expecting to see more girls on the cards than ever before including Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews and Harriet Tucker who all won last year as well as Bryony Frost, Lucy Alexander and Rachael Blackmore who lies second in the Irish jump jockeys table. Will they go beat last year’s record by scoring even more Festival victories and take a share of the? Can Bryony Frost be the first ever woman to win the Gold Cup?

 

National Hunt Racing has always been a sport contested by men and women. Yet of all equine-related activities, it has been the most challenging for women to make their mark in, over sports like Eventing, Dressage or Showjumping. There have been World Champions in all three Equestrian disciplines but there has never been a female Champion Jockey, in either Flat or National Hunt.   Maybe this is because racing is a sport where the boys massively outnumbered the girls. Some say there have been fewer opportunities for women to excel, with many trainers and owners favouring a male jockey over a female for reasons that include physical strength or because they don’t like seeing girls get hurt. Or maybe the female jockeys have simply not been as good as the men.

 

In the last five years, the tide is has turned and since Lizzie Kelly shot to fame in 2015 when she became the first female jump jockey to win a Grade One race when she won the Novices’ Chase on Tea for Two at Kempton Park in 2015. It is now a regular occurrence to see women first past the post. Furthermore, trainers are giving them rides on good horses and there are more female jockeys turning professional than ever before. It is perhaps significant that 10 time Champion Jumps Trainer, Paul Nicholls employs Bryony Frost as one of his leading stable jockeys.

 

There have been 14 winning female jockeys at The Festival in total but with 23 winners between them. The first woman to win at was Caroline Beasley who won in 1983 on Eliograty and Gee Armytage was the first woman to have two winners in one year. The first professional female jockey was Lizzie Kelly last year on Coo Star Sivola who she plans to ride again this year. Whilst the most successful female jockey to date is Nina Carberry with six winners in total.

 

Female trainers have had their fair share of Festival winners. There have been 27 winning female trainers over the years with 68 winning horses between them. The first was Jackie Brutton who trained Snowdra Queen to win in 1966. The most successful so far has been Irish trainer Jessica Harrington, with 11 winners in total, including training Sizing John to win the Gold Cheltenham Cup in 2017. Jenny Pitman was the first woman to train a Gold Cup winner, when Burrough Hill Lad won in 1984, one of two Gold Cup victories for Pitman. The second success came in 1991 when Garrison Savannah won, ridden by her son Mark Pitman. She was also the first woman to train the winner of the Grand National courtesy of Corbiere in 1983. Once again, an achievement she would repeat when Royal Athlete who in 1995.

 

One of the most popular female trainers of all time has to be Henrietta Knight, who trained the legendary horse, Best Mate to three Gold Cup victories and had seven Festival winners in total and over 700 winners throughout her career.

 

This year, there are a number of female trainers presenting some promising horses to the mix. Emma Lavelle saddles Paisley Park, one of the favourites for the Stayers’ Hurdle and Jessica Harrington’s Supasundae will be a decent contender in the same race. Small time trainer, Kayley Woollacott’s Lalor is a strong hope for the Arkle Trophy. Also seen on the entries list are Venetia Williams, Sue Smith (wife of Harvey Smith), Lucinda Russell, Rebecca Curtis and Horse Scout’s ambassador Amy Murphy.

 

Last year’s Festival really reinforced the Women’s Revolution in racing with so many female winners. You can see three of those Festival winners, Lizzie Kelly, Bridget Andrews and Harriet Tucker on this video, discussing what the sport and the win really means to them.

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CHI Geneva 2018

CELEBRATING THE SPONSOR: ROLEX AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO EQUESTRIAN SPORT

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Olympia, Badminton, Burghley, Windsor would simply not exist without sponsorship just as professional riders could not live without their support. We are extremely lucky to have some huge and high-end brands involved with equestrian brands so we thought it high time we celebrated one who has been involved in Eventing, Showjumping, Dressage for many years. They are also sponsors of the recent CHI in Geneva which attracts the best showjumpers in the world.

Rolex is synonymous with equestrian sport at the highest level. As well as sponsoring a number of individuals such as showjumpers Scott Brash, Rodrigo Pessoa, Steve Guerdat and Kent Farrington, Plus World Number One dressage rider Isabel Werth and event rider Zara Tindall; they are responsible for offering some of the richest prizes in the sport. The Rolex Grand Slam in both Showjumping and Eventing is one of the most lucrative and best-known accolades a rider can achieve. A true test of horsemanship and steely nerves, it’s the one they all want to claim. Last week was one of Rolex’s title shows- the CHI Geneva.

This year, the show welcomed 40 of the best riders in the world to compete in the main class, the Rolex Grand Prix, the final Major of the year in the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping.

Fittingly, Geneva is the home city of the Swiss watchmaker and The Rolex Grand Prix is, staged in the  Palexpo Arena. The 22-year partnership between Rolex and the CHI Geneva demonstrates Rolex’s commitment to supporting equestrian sport worldwide. Having been named the best show jumping event on nine occasions, CHI Geneva has a long and distinguished equestrian heritage and Rolex has been a proud sponsor since 1996.

It was a victory for Germany’s Marcus Ehning riding Pret A Tout, repeating his success from CHIO Aachen where he won the Rolex Grand Prix in July earlier this year. Second place went to Rolex Testimonee Steve Guerdat riding Albfüehren’s Bianca and third place went to Irish rider Darragh Kenny riding Balou du Reventon. Britain’s Scott Brash and Ben Maher finished 6thand 7thresepectively.

Over 42,500 fans gathered over the four days for the CHI. With a packed arena delighting in a thrilling two-stage Rolex Grand Prix competition between the world’s elite. Scott Brash was the first rider to go clear, later joined by Steve Guerdat and USA’s Kent Farrington in the line-up of riders going through to the jump-off. The Swiss crowd erupted into applause as one of their home favourites, Guerdat went clear, sailing around the challenging course.

With 11 clears in the first round, the equestrian fans were enraptured as they waited for what promised to be a breath-taking jump-off, with three Rolex Testimonees, the world number one and a previous Major winner included in the line-up. Whilst all riders gave it everything, it was Marcus Ehning who prevailed with a precision performance demonstrating his exquisite horsemanship and sporting skills.

Supported by Rolex since 2013, the Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping is the most prestigious competition within equestrianism, it is also one of the toughest feats to achieve. It requires precision and excellence from every horse and rider partnership. All four Majors within the competition have a rich equestrian history and focus on delivering elite-level sport. This demonstration of commitment along with a passion for excellence reflect Rolex’s values and make each a perfect partner for the Swiss watchmaker.

The world’s equestrian elite will now look to The Dutch Masters, the first Major of 2019, where Ehning will be travelling as the new Rolex Grand Slam of Show Jumping live contender.

 

FEI World Equestrian Gamesª Tryon USA

12 interesting (and slightly feminist and Nationalistic) facts about the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games in Tryon.

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  1. In the Olympic sports of Dressage, Showjumping and Eventing, all three gold medals were won by female riders: Germany’s Isabel Werth (49) and Simone Blum (29) plus British rider Rosalind Canter (32)
  2. In Para Dressage the individual titles in all six grades, were won by women.
  3. Simone Blum became the first female individual gold medallist in the 28 year history of the FEI World Equestrian Games and only the second female rider in the 65 year history of the World Championships.
  4. Gold medalist eventer Rosalind Canter is 5ft2 whilst her horse Allstar B towers at 17.1hh. Whilst Best British showjumper, Amanda Derbyshire is also 5ft 2’’ but her ride stands at barely 16 hands.
  5. Of the top twenty placed horses in the individual showjumping, half were mares.
  6. Of the top five placed dressage horses, three were mares.
  7. Chestnut mares took top honours in both dressage and showjumping. Isabell Werth’s Bella Rose in the dressage and Simone Blum’s DSP Alice
  8. Showjumper Amanda Derbyshire, who finished best of the Brits has been based in the US for the last seven years but started her career as a work rider for Nick Skelton. Nick and his partner, US rider Laura Kraut still train Derbyshire.
  9. Derbyshire’s diminutive mare “Luibanta BH”, was bred in Ireland and produced by Ellen Whitaker. She was bought by current owner’s as a junior horse for their teenage daughter to ride but by far exceeded expectations.
  10. Of the 25 horses in the individual final of the showjumping at WEG, seven were produced in Britain and three were British bred. In eventing, Mr Chunky the silver medalist was bred and produced in the UK and Charlotte Dujardin’s Dressage bronze medalist, Mount St John Freestyle was produced from a foal by Emma and Jill Blundell at the Mount St John Stud Thirsk, Scotland. The Mount St John Stud also produced and still owns Para Dressage individual gold and team silver medalist Mount St John Diva Dannebrog, ridden by Britain’s Natasha Baker
  11. The British Para-Dressage team missed out on a major international gold for the first time in the history of the World Equestrian Games, having won every European, World and Paralympic team gold since the Sydney Paralympics in 2000.  Team GB were beaten by the Dutch into silver by just 0.64% in their total score in Tryon.
  12. A strong British performance at WEG resulted in Team GB finishing third in the medal rankings and receiving 2020 Olympic qualification for Eventing, Dressage and Para-Dressage.
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Eventers put the Great into Britain at FEI World Equestrian Games

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  1. Great Britain wins team Gold
  2. Ros Canter and Allstar B wins Individual Gold
  3. Great Britain scores the lowest team score in world championship history
  4. Great Britain qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
  5. Four British athletes finish in the top 20

 

“Our primary objective coming here was qualifying for Tokyo and our next objective was to win as many medals as possible and we have achieved both” said Performance Manager for the British Eventing team, Richard Waygood. “It’s been an amazing day in the office. They all went in there for the team and stuck to the system.”

 

The final day of the eventing competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games in Tyron was one of high dramas. The showjumping phase was postponed from Sunday to Monday after heavy rainfall. Yet despite an extra day of recovery, the showjumping caused problems throughout the field and a big shake-up in the order.

 

Ros Canter must have felt enormous pressure as the final rider for Team GBR, with Britain in the gold medal position. She had no margin for error if she was to win an individual medal and only one fence in hand to take the team title. A text-book clear round from the Lincolnshire rider not only secured Great Britain as World Champions, but also confirmed an individual medal for Ros, and team Olympic qualification for Great Britain at Tokyo 2020.

 

The overnight leader for the individual medals, Ingrid Klimke, also had no room for error on SAP Hale Bob OLD. As they approached the final fence after a promising round, it looked almost certain that the individual gold was going to Germany, but the crowds’ cheers turned to gasps as a pole on the final fence fell and the individual title went to Ros.

 

Speaking after her round, a slightly shell-shocked looking Ros said; “I don’t think it’s sunk in. I can’t believe it; Allstar B was absolutely amazing, he was an absolute hero, I had an amazing experience in there. I kept saying [to myself] just let him do his job, and I’m so proud. There were quite a few tears when I found out which isn’t normal for me.”

 

Ros paid huge credit to her support team. “The team around us is just phenomenal. They make the dream come true really.”

 

In the team competition, Great Britain headed into today’s showjumping with an 8.2 penalty advantage – or just two fences – over Ireland, and, after two clear rounds from Ireland’s team riders, the pressure mounted on the final three GBR combinations. After their incredible pathfinding cross country on Saturday, West Sussex’s Gemma Tattersall got Britain underway in the showjumping phase, picking up 12 faults on The Soul Syndicate’s Arctic Soul.

 

Tom McEwen, who is based at Gatcombe Park in Gloucestershire, was next in for the team and took an unlucky four faults from an otherwise impressive round on his own, Jane Inns and Alison McEwen’s Toledo de Kerser. Their completion score of 32.4 penalties meant that the gap between the team gold and silver had closed to just four faults with two team riders left to show jump.

 

The penultimate rider for GB, Northamptonshire’s Piggy French, also picked up four faults on Jayne McGivern’s Quarrycrest Echo in the final showjumping combination on course, which reduced GBR’s advantage to just 0.2 of a penalty. Ireland’s final team rider, Sarah Ennis, headed into the final phase in individual bronze but an early fence down on Horseware Stellor Rebound dropped them out of the individual medals and also increased the penalty gap between team silver and gold back to four. After Ros’ brilliant clear round the team gold was secured for Great Britain with a score of 88.8, Ireland took team silver on 93 and France bronze with a score of 99.8.

 

Tina Cook who was going as an individual on Elizabeth Murdoch and Keith Tyson’s, Billy the Red, rounded off their championships with a clear round. This pulled them up to finish in ninth place individually and second best of the British riders behind Ros on a score of 31.5 penalties.

 

Roll on Tokyo!

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

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WEG FOCUS: ARCTIC SOUL

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10 things you may not know about Gemma Tattersall’s  eventer, Arctic Soul aka “Spike”

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  1. Born in Ireland he was bred by Michael Whitty.
  2. He started life as a racehorse but he didn’t win a thing. “He was rubbish” says Gemma.
  3. He was rescued off the meat truck in Ireland by Marti Rudd, a Performance horse dealer who bought him for 500 euros. Nicki Roncoroni purchased him for Philip Kerr who rode him for a number of years.  Nikki produced him to 1* level and then Gemma was given the ride in 2012 when he was eight years old.
  4. His first event with Gemma was a novice at Tweseldown in 2012 which he won.  He went from novice to 3* in a year.
  5. His favourite things are going cross-country and rolling. He absolutely loves water and will paw the ground to make a splash. He loves puddles and will find the muddiest wet puddle to roll in.
  6. He eats Gain horse feeds: freedom mix and freedom nuts, hay and haylage, plenty of grass.
  7. The last person who fell off him was Sarah (one of Team Tatts grooms) when he bucked her off.
  8. What he wished he knew at six years old- eg bucking in the dressage warm up is a waste of energy.
  9. His favourite event is Burghley according to Gemma.
  10. What he could not live without: Gemma, his best friend and his field mate Pamero 4

 

Gemma Tattersall and “Spike” are Ambassadors of Equine Charity,  The Brooke and support their “EVERY HORSE REMEMBERED” campaign. www.thebrooke.org

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WEG FOCUS: JONELLE PRICE- Riding the Crest of the Wave after the birth of her son.

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New Zealand’s Jonelle Price has been knocking on the door of a big win for nearly a decade. This year with her evergreen mare Classic Moet, she won perhaps the most famous equestrian events of them all, The Mitsubishi Badminton Horse Trials. In doing so, Jonelle became the first female winner in ten years and all this, just eight months after the birth of her son Otis. Then just a month later, she proved it wasn’t a fluke by winning Luhmuhlen on Faerie Dianimo. Jonelle has been a regular fixture on the New Zealand event squad and helped the team to win the bronze medal in London 2012.

 

This week the 37-year-old will be hoping to add another medal at the FEI World Equestrian Games, where she must be in serious contention for an individual as well as a team in Tryon. And why not? It has been a great year for the Price family and the stars seem aligned. Earlier this month her husband and fellow WEG team-member, Tim Price won the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, making them the first husband and wife to win back-to-back titles since Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips did it in 1971.

 

Jonelle, who quit her law degree to follow her eventing dreams, is one of the most determined riders on the circuit and has success at all levels of the sport. According to the statisticians from Equi-ratings, Price is still “the fastest cross-country rider in the world” even after her break to have baby Otis.

 

For Jonelle, her pregnancy came as something of a surprise and was received with mixed emotions; “I hated being off. I was riding the crest of a wave, having just been third at Burghley (2016). Things were all going in the right direction and it felt like a spanner in the works. But reflecting on it, I realise now that in the scheme of your lifetime, it is not much really is it?”

 

Her sporting ambitions kept the 37-year-old looking forwards and helped her make a speedy comeback to the sport.

 

“It was a real focus throughout my pregnancy to stay fit. I rode pretty much the whole way through and I was at the gym and worked with a personal trainer the whole time so I didn’t lose a huge amount of fitness. Even though obviously your body changes a bit and that takes time to come back, I don’t think I lost the fitness of core stability.”

 

On her return, it was business as normal and giving birth had not dampened her competitive spirit or changed her feelings for contesting a high-risk and physically and emotionally demanding sport. “For me, that wasn’t a problem. You have more time when you are pregnant to think about these things and you wonder how it will affect you and hear stories of other women who decide to give up, in any sport. I think it’s a very individual thing and I was pleasantly surprised that I felt really normal. Nothing had changed and it really was just back to work.”

 

Whilst her family still live in New Zealand, the Prices are reliant on good child-care and Otis joins them at most events. “It hasn’t been as life-changing in the way I thought it would. I was worried about that but it has just enhanced our lives. He’s an incredible little boy and he doesn’t care whether we win or lose. It’s really refreshing, he still loves you the same and looks forward to seeing us at the end of the day, as we do him. For us, it really has been business as normal and we are lucky that in this job, he can come on the road with us. He is probably one of the most well-traveled one-year-olds you will find and he doesn’t know any different”.

 

Written by Ellie Kelly

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HORSE SCOUT REAL: MARK TODD

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Undoubtedly one of the most prolific riders of all time, Horse Scout advocate Mark Todd has been competing at the top of the sport for nearly forty years. As well as winning Badminton four times and Burghley five times, Mark (aka “Toddy”) has competed at seven Olympic Games winning medals at five of those, including individual gold in Los Angeles (1984) and Seoul (1988). In 1978 he was part of New Zealand’s first three-day eventing team to contest a World Equestrian Games.

 

Toddy has competed at a number World Championships since, winning team golds in Stockholm (1990) and Rome (1998) and an individual silver in Rome. Despite this unprecedented and sustained success at the top of the sport, one prize has eluded the 62 year old. “I have never won an individual World Championship” he says. “If I retired tomorrow I could say I have had a very fortunate career and I have done way more than I ever imagined I could. But I am still competitive enough that I still strive to win the big ones- Burghley, Badminton and the World Equestrian Games.”

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With three horses qualified for the FEI World Equestrian Games, we will almost definitely see Toddy in the line up. But before the Games which take place next month (11-23rd September), he has a demanding schedule ahead.

 

“From now on it gets really busy. Although I have a smaller team of horses, it is pretty much every weekend. Burghley is the first major coming later this month.” He feels there is unfinished business here this year. “Having had what I thought was being in a good winning position last year, until near the end of the cross-country. I’d love to go and have another crack again” he says referring to his fall from Leonidas just a few fences from home.

 

“Then a few days after Burghley, we leave for WEG. At this stage I am not sure which horse I will be taking but I have Leonidas, Kilturbrid Rhapsody and McClaren qualified.”

 

Toddy will be one of the oldest riders at the Games but also the one with the most experience. He does not feel his age has affected him physically. “I don’t feel it’s any physically more demanding- except when you come off” he smiles. “I have been riding so long that I have that muscle memory. I keep myself fit and healthy.” However, he implies that his competitive drive is perhaps not what it used to be. “I still enjoy the competition but I don’t enjoy all the work involved quite like I used to.”

 

Beyond this year Toddy is undecided on what the future holds. “I would love to take McClaren to Badminton next year but I will see how I feel at the end of this year.  I have young horses coming on and I certainly haven’t made up my mind but if I won a medal at WEG, I might decide to leave it there.”

 

Horse Scout’s Ellie Kelly was talking to Mark whilst test-driving the full range of Land Rovers and Range Rovers in an off-road experience day at Rockingham Castle. Mark Todd is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover has been at the heart of equestrian sport for over 30 years. For more information visit  www.landrover.co.uk

To view Mark Todd’s profile click here.

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Ellie Kelly Horse Scout Media