A trio of very keen and rather excited Kiwi eventers are heading to Le Pin au Haras – Le Grand Complet – in France this week for their first international since pre-COVID.
Tim and Jonelle Price, along with Bruce Haskell have 10 horses between them competing across the grades and will team up to take part in the FEI Nations’ Cup event.
It has been a busy build-up for Team Price with an average of 25 horses competing each week at national events in the UK. “We’ve definitely hit the ground running,” says world No.2 Tim. “It is exciting to think of competing at an international event again . . . and to travel away and compete is going to be good fun.”
He has two in the CCIO4*-S – nine-year-old Italian-bred grey Spartaco and his 17-year-old experienced Wesko. He’s been bringing Spartaco along “sympathetically and quietly”. “He has really benefited from this time of training and rehearsal.” Now was the time for the horse to “put down some good performances”, starting in France.
In the CCI3*-L, Tim has Happy Boy, who won the Le Lion Seven-Year-Old last year, starting in his second 3*-L. “He is more mature and again actually benefited from having a quieter year but I am looking forward to getting him out and ticking that (second 3*-L) box so he can upgrade to advanced and hopefully do a 4*-S at some stage before this year is out.”
Jonelle has three in the CCIO4*-S in McClaren, Grovine de Reve and Grappa Nera. McClaren, who was formerly ridden by Sir Mark Todd and represented New Zealand at the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games, had his first international event with Jonelle earlier this year.
Grovine de Reve has been with Jonelle since 2019 and placed second in the CCI4*-L at Cappoquin that year. Nine-year-old black mare Grappa Nera who has been with the Olympian her whole career, rounds out her trio in the big class. Jonelle also has Curly Girl in the CCI3*-S and Faerie Magnifico in the CCI2*-L.
Both Tim and Jonelle are looking forward to what they hope will be some good French weather along with a little wine, cheese and baguette.
Bruce is in the CCIO4*-S aboard Amiro Sky, a 12-year-old mare who has been with him her whole international career. He is also starting Ex Cavaliers Law in the CCI2*-L.
“Preparation for both horses has gone really well,” says Bruce. Both had found an early outing easy so was just down to fine-tuning for France. “We have been working hard in the background and are on target.”
He admits to being pretty envious of his home country. “New Zealand is looking amazing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean right now,” he says. “As opposed to Europe where everything is changing daily. Going to France – yes, that is going to be interesting. There is a bit of concern at the moment around what is happening in Europe but we have plans in place and will be fine. It is exciting to be back out competing and a real buzz to be back in the start box and ready to go. I am looking forward to it.”
The New Zealand team for the Nations’ Cup class comprises Tim on Wesko, Jonelle aboard Grovine de Rev and Bruce with Amiro Sky. The Kiwis are up against seven other teams, with the team dressage set to start on Thursday (FR time).
As expected, the fields are substantial at Haras and include many of eventing’s big names with 10 Olympic medallists on the start cards including Michael Jung (GER), Astier Nicolas (FRA), Thomas Carlile (FRA), Chris Burton (AUS), Tom McEwen (GBR) and Zara Tindall (GBR).
In all, the popular annual event has attracted more than 350 horses, riders from 18 countries and 100 combinations in the CCIO4*-S class which is new to the schedule.
WHAT: Le Grand Complet
WHERE: Haras National du Pin, Orne, Normandy, France
WHEN: August 12-16, 2020
CLICK HERE FOR START LISTS & RESULTS
THE HORSE DETAILS:
Spartaco – owned by Tim and Jonelle Price
Wesko – owned The Windrush Equestrian Foundation and Tim Price
McClaren – owned by David and Katherine Thomson
Grovine de Reve – owned by Therese Miller, Jo Preston-Hunt, Philip Hunt and Jonelle Price
Grappa Nera – owned by The Grape Syndicate and Jonelle Price
Amiro Sky – owned by Bruce, Judy and Tom Haskell
Happy Boy – owned by Susan Lamb and Therese Miller
Curly Girl – owned by Kat4e Amin, Lucy Sangster, Kate Holmes and Jackie Olivier
Faerie Magnifico – owned by Trisha Rickards
Ex Cavalier’s Law – owned by Tammy Lake and Bruce Haskell
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law