Jonelle Price loves to make history. Her latest efforts have seen her sky rocket up the FEI World Eventing Rankings from 212th in March to seventh this week.
It’s not the best she’s ever been – she was second for six months in 2014-2015 – but she’s rapt.
“Number seven – it has a much better ring to it than whatever I started the year at,” said the 37-year-old. “The rankings are certainly not immaterial for me, but obviously when you have had some time out (like I did), it doesn’t make allowances so we had a pretty big leap to make. We have made big progress.”
That progress is not just big – it’s huge, and includes back-to-back CCI4* wins. She was the first New Zealand woman to achieve the feat and added her name to an elite list of international 4* winners.
Price, who had her first child in August, admitted she was “a little sad” when she was checking to see where she had finished in the rankings for 2017.
“I couldn’t find it and kept going to the next page – I thought I had missed it but I just hadn’t gone down far enough. It was a bit of a shock to be down in the 200s and really nice to get back inside the top 10. Hopefully if we can continue the form we have started the year in, we can finish a few better than that.”
Price rode as late as she could in her pregnancy with Otis, and it was just eight months later she rode to victory aboard Classic Moet, followed just weeks later with the win in the CCI4* at Luhmuhlen on Faerie Dianimo.
Throughout her career, Price has had 23 CCI4* starts aboard Mazetto, Flintstar, The Deputy, Classic Moet and Faerie Dianimo, for 20 completions. Eleven of those efforts have resulted in top 10 finishes and she’s been on the podium four times – twice each with Classic Moet and Faerie Dianimo.
Price has represented New Zealand twice at the Olympic Games – in 2012 aboard Flintstar where they won team bronze, and in 2016 at Rio aboard Faerie Dianimo where the team finished a rather agonising fourth.
In 2014 she and Classic Moet were fourth individually, becoming the talk of the eventing world with their super speedy cross country efforts in hugely challenging conditions.
It’s that fierce determination, calculating competitive streak and tunnel focus that make her one of the most respected eventers in the world right now.
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photo by Libby Law/ESNZ