NZ Eventing Team a Perfect Balance

The New Kid on the Block 

After the drama surrounding team selection for the Brits and the Americans there were no shocks when Team NZ announced that Key Rider Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Caroline Powell and Jock Paget got the nod from the selectors.

Jonelle Richards
Key Rider Jonelle Richards named in the NZ Olympic Eventing Team

The 5th spot was always going to be between Key Rider Jonelle Richards, Lucy Jackson and Clarke Johnstone and those of us who have horses with Jonelle are delighted that she made it onto the team.

Horses for Courses

It is interesting to evaluate the team selection in terms of specifics for Greenwich.  Other nations such as the Aussies seem to have gone for dressage scores but, Team NZ took home a very clear picture of what was needed from the Test Event that ran last summer.  Tough, sound, easy to ride and turn cross country seemed to be the mould that was required.

And the mix that made it?  Flintstar and Clifton Promise are both New Zealand thoroughbreds, Nereo comes from hardy Spanish bloodstock, Lenamore has a TB mother and the legendary Seacrest as his tough and hardy sire. Whilst NZB Campino might sport a German passport he has plenty of TB in there too.

Age wise there is a massive range from the 10 year old NZB Campino who is only in his 3rd season eventing to the 19 year old Lenamore who has nearly as much experience as Mark Todd!

Youth vs Experience 

Jonelle Richards turned 30 not so long ago while fellow team member Mark Todd is closer to 60 than 50!  Jonelle described at the press conference how she would get up as a kid in the middle of the night and watch Andrew Nicholson and Mark Todd compete in some far away country and what an honour and a privilege it was to ride on a team with them.

Mark Todd noted that back in Los Angeles he could never have imagined that he would still be riding at London Olympics in 2012 but how thrilled he was to be a part of it.  Mark and Jonelle have been working together with Flintstar all winter and it’s a great bond between them. It’s also very unusual situation in that Mark will be competing Flintstar in the dressage and showjumping phases at the CCIO in Aachen this week.  Fingers crossed that the team goes well in Aachen, then its just a few weeks to go until the big one.

– JG

You can follow Jacky Green on twitter @jacks_green or subscribe to her blog posts through ‘The flow’ by entering your email into the box in the right hand column of this page.

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