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By Jacky Green, follow @jacks_green on twitter.
Keyflow riders pulled off an impressive 2nd, 3rd and 4th placing at the Stuttgart German Masters Indoor cross country in Germany this week and now head for the Sweden International Horse Show in Stockholm as a team entry where they will compete for an individual prize of a John Deere tractor as well as a team prize worth over €8,000.
Fiercely competitive on the eventing circuit, let alone when riding as a team, it seems the draw of a shiny new tractor is more than enough to warrant the journey north which is 1000 miles away and involves two ferry crossings. All fuelled by Keyflow Feeds the horses below will make up the Kiwi assault on Thursday November 27th.
Sir Mark Todd and NZB Land Vision. Owned by NZB Bloodstock.
Toddy is often referred to as the “Maestro” and he rides his 2011 Badminton winner “Ben”. After a great round in Stuttgart which left them in 2nd place behind the mighty Michi Jung it is clear that Ben is back to his best and relishing the challenge. No stranger to big crowds and electric atmospheres the Stockholm challenge looks to be something that Ben will flourish in and they will be the ones to watch on the night. Ben has spent some time on the side lines in the last couple of seasons with niggling little injuries but the big white horse is always a crowd favourite and they will be sure to entertain with a really determined “all out to win” round. Sir Mark has been seen on his tractor at Badgerstown on numerous occasions but every boy always wants a new toy….
Jonelle Price and Classic Moet. Owned by Trisha Rickards.
Jonelle and “Molly” were just half a second behind Sir Mark at Stuttgart for 3rd place and the type of gutsy, polished ride we have come to expect of this duo. Jonelle is currently ranked No. 2 in the world and the first woman to break into the top 3 since Mary King led the rankings back in 2011. Molly had the fastest cross country round of the day at the World Equestrian Games back in August and this feisty little black mare is in her element going as quickly as she can over fences. Despite her name her jump style is somewhat less than “classic” but she is fast and careful. She is equally at home in a muddy field as in a big arena and the huge crowds will still keep her in “Stay Cool” mode. I don’t think Jonelle is that bothered about driving the tractor but she will certainly be happy to direct someone else to!
Tim Price and Xavier Faer. Owned and bred by Trisha Rickards.
Tim rode the 8 year old “Hugo” into 4th spot in Stuttgart, just half a second behind his wife. With Ringwood Sky Boy Tim rode the fastest cross country round of the day at Badminton this year and he is never to be underestimated when it comes to speed. Hugo is a relatively new addition to Tim’s team but they have gelled very quickly and compliment each other perfectly. Tim is the “speed master” while Hugo would prefer to take his time and have a gawk around so together they strike the “Perfect Balance”. Hugo certainly had his eyes on stalks in Stuttgart but he gave it his all and a second competition in a week will be right up his street in terms of learning the ropes. No one likes a boy’s toy more than Tim so that tractor is very high on his list of priorities!
Jesse Campbell and Apart VD Hoefslag Z. Owned by Jane Bell.
Jesse will be the rookie member of the team in Stockholm as he did not go to Stuttgart although he and “Harry” have attended the “Russ Hardy Crash Course of Indoor Jumping” at Boomerang this week. Harry came out of that with flying colours and his style of jumping is very much suited to this event. Harry likes nothing more than to take out strides and show off his “superman” style which bodes well for a fast round but not for Jesse’s heart rate during cross country rounds. Harry’s power will be the “Key-Plus” element for this competition as long as Jesse can control it! I am not entirely sure Jesse knows how to drive a tractor but he will be determined not to be the drop score on the night and at least his horse has a name which makes him sound like a fancy foreign showjumper.
All photos by kind permission of Kerstin Hoffman/EventingART