Sam McIntosh couldn’t be happier with her 15-year-old stallion and their efforts that saw them notch New Zealand’s best-ever individual jumping effort at a World Equestrian Games.
At 32nd, they just dipped out on making the top 25 for the final on Sunday. Interestingly though, Sam has twice placed better at WEG – 11that Jerez and 17that Aachen when riding for Bulgaria. But her results in North Carolina are special because she did them for New Zealand. “I have always been a Kiwi at heart,” she said.
Sam’s aim had always been to make Sunday’s final. “One too rail too many put a halt to that but I am totally happy with my horse. It was such a great experience to be part of such a supportive team. We all worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get here.”
This is the fourth WEG she has ridden at, and each is special. “Check In has been jumping fantastic. He is lacking a little rideability today probably after going two rounds at quite a speed for him. He still tried really hard and jumped his heart out. It is tough . . . we have been out there for three days now and the fences are getting bigger and wider, and I think it is starting to take its toll.”
The course today was bigger and tougher. The verticals were huge. The oxers much wider. “There are a few funny turns in it now that just keep you on your game as well . . . but the results are looking a little better today than they were yesterday, so I think it is credit to good course building.”
Sam planned to firstly shower Check In with pats, carrots and sweets before they flew home on Monday, and then he would have a holiday. Meanwhile she had a couple of rather exciting eight-year-olds who would be needing a lot of work.
“I need to concentrate a bit more on the other horses who have been waiting around while we have been playing here. It will be catch up with them over the next few months.”
She would definitely be home for the Takapoto Estate Showjumping in Late February/early March and she’s not discounting the Tokyo Olympic Games with Check In either.
“He is 15 now – fit and fresh, so all going well, why not . . .but that is a day by day thing with horses.”
By Diana Dobson, NZ team media liaison
Photo by Libby Law PHotography