It seems New Zealand’s golden girl of eventing has a special touch when it comes to sharing her knowledge.

A clutch of high performance squad members and up and comers spent time with her at the NEC in Taupo before heading to the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show to compete and for some, it really paid dividends.

For Jonelle it was a chance to see what riders were up to. “It was a good opportunity for me to get to know them and their horses a little bit more than just a name on paper,” she said. “Hopefully this is our next generation who are going to come alongside us in teams in the years to come, so I think it is really important we start to communicate a bit more with them. I hope too it was a useful and worthwhile exercise for them.”

Both Amanda Pottinger (Havelock North) and Samantha Lissington (Matangi), winners of the CCI3*-S and CCI4*-S at HOY, were at the training weekend. “Obviously it worked well for both Amanda and Sam. I think they were both on track but hopefully we were able to add a few more things to their repertoire before heading to HOY.”

Jonelle felt it was exciting to see the talent at home and to bring the UK and NZ based programmes closer. “We need the two programmes working on parallel lines so that we start to bridge that gap a little bit and make it as easy as possible for when they do make the leap (to the UK) in the years to come.”

ESNZ eventing performance development coach Jock Paget said there were multiple benefits to having Jonelle in New Zealand and working with the riders.

“It worked extremely well,” he said. “Jonelle worked with the riders on the first day, running through their HOY dressage tests and helping them prepare, picking up on little subtle marks throughout each movement and working on the basic way of going for them to improve with their coaches.”

Jock and dressage coach Penny Castle worked alongside Jonelle to ensure uniformity across the programme. The second day included jumping exercises, involving related lines and gymnastic exercises to work on the horses’ jumping technique and rideability in the indoor arena. Some riders were also taken cross country schooling.

“It was just great to have Jonelle work with our future championship riders,” said Jock. “She is a fantastic coach and the riders all got a lot out of their lessons with some great scores following at HOY. Jonelle was very generous with her knowledge and made for a great day of training both from a riding and a coach perspective.”

Having the two time CCI5* winner at HOY brought with it more benefits. “It was good for her to see the riders in action after that training. She’s a great team player and put a lot into the riders,” said Jock. “That’s crucial to the further development of the riders and our overall team to make sure we can keep producing winners on the world stage.” He hoped the relationships would be further developed between Jonelle and the riders, with more opportunities in the future. “It will mean a more seamless transition when moving to the Northern Hemisphere to campaign for championships or to be based.”
High Performance Squad riders Jonelle and Tim both competed aboard horses leant by Samantha Lissington. Tim and Ricker Ridge Escada placed seventh in the CCI4*-S on a score of 60.0 penalty points while Jonelle retired Ricker Ridge Devine Right after the horse pulled a shoe.

High Performance Futures Squad member Amanda Pottinger won the CCI4*-S aboard Just Kidding on a score of 34 penalty points and was third in the CCI3* aboard The Comedian on 35.5. Talent Development rider Maddy Crowe (Hamilton) with Waitangi Pinterest was second in the CCI4*-S, just 1.7 penalty points behind Amanda. Blyth Tait and his futures squad horse Havanna competed in the CCI3* and he rode Chloe Phillips-Harris’ Cor Jet to third place in the CCI4*.

High Performance Potential Squad riders also did well at HOY – Bundy Philpott (Cambridge) and Tresca NZPH were fifth in the CCI4*-S, Samantha Lissington and Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ won the CCI3*-S. Nick Brooks (Cambridge) and For Fame were fourth in the CCI4* with Monica Oakley (Auckland) and Acrobat were eighth in the 4*. Monica was also second in the CCI3* aboard Festival, with Man of Honour fifth and Artist eighth.

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ