Tim Price is flying high after the announcement he has nabbed the top spot in the FEI World Eventing Rankings announced this morning, joining a rather elite clutch of New Zealand riders.
Andrew Nicholson was the nation’s last No. 1 ranked rider, holding the top slot for six months in 2012, all of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. Sir Mark Todd and Blyth Tait have also both been world No. 1 multiple times under different systems with the likes of Jonelle Price, Vaughn Jefferis and Jock Paget also in the top rankings.
The news has been greeted with an outpouring of congratulatory messages for the very popular rider from people across the globe. ESNZ eventing high performance manager Graeme Thom says the whole team is thrilled for Tim’s pinnacle achievement. “Tim’s natural ability, unflagging determination and grace in both victory and defeat has produced a model paladin who New Zealand is understandably very proud of.”
For the two-time Olympian, it has been a while in the making. “I have to admit to wanting to achieve this for some time,” said 40-year-old Tim. “It’s gone from a dream, to a driving force, to a reality. It is a great marker point for my career . . . long may it continue! I want to build and develop some more successes in the next few months to strengthen that reign.”
Tim feels the top tag is more a recognition of consistency rather than outright winning. “I try to bring the best out of every opportunity I have. Not always to win, but always in a way that has my horses wanting to give effort for their own satisfaction and enjoyment as well as mine. For me, it is the coming together of all the hard work, a strong focus and great partnership with my equine friends.”
Tim started his equestrian career as a showjumper before making the shift to eventing. He and Jonelle had their first Badminton start in 2003 and returned in live in the UK permanently in 2005. He and Jonelle, who has previously been ranked number two in the world, married in 2013.
Tim bagged his first CCI5*-L win in 2014 aboard Wesko at Luhmuhlen, beating the reigning world, European and Olympic champ Michael Jung (GER). That year he and Jonelle become New Zealand’s first husband and wife on a World Equestrian Games team. The following year was a good one for this very determined power couple, with Tim second at both Kentucky and Burghley, and third at Pau, and Jonelle second at Luhmuhlen and fifth at Burghley. They again made history when both were named on the team for the Rio Olympics.
But it was 2018 that became the year of the Prices with Tim claiming Burghley and Jonelle both Badminton and Luhmuhlen. It was that Burghley win that marked the start of a points haul that would culminate with his world No. 1 ranking.
Tim now has the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games firmly in his sights where he hopes to add another pinnacle achievement to his trophy cabinet.
Andrew Nicholson is the only other Kiwi in the top 10 at eight place in the latest rankings.
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ