Joe Meyer may be the only Kiwi flying the New Zealand flag high at the 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event in the CCI4*, but he’s got company with countryman Sharn Wordley in the field for the inaugural CSI3* invitational showjumping.
Both riders are certainly looking forward to the prestigious event but will face competition from some of the best in their respective classes.
Meyer has both Clip Clop and former New Zealand racehorse Johnny Royale on the card. It is Clip Clop’s third time to the United States only four star event, with Johnny Royal at the other end of his career with just a year at advanced level.
“They are on opposite ends of the spectrum of experience,” says US-based Meyer. However, both have had several runs this season with some solid performances two weeks ago in the CIC3* at the FEI World Equestrian Games test event at Tryon.
“Clip Clop is a tricky horse mentally, but very tough and gritty,” says Meyer. “Johnny is very relaxed mentally and I am particularly proud of his achievements considering as a young racehorse in New Zealand he was pulled up for bad jumping in both races over fences! He is still a work in progress on the flat and not quite up to the 4* test yet, so I am hoping for a nice experience in the ring (at Kentucky) to help him in the future.”
Meyer says the course is running in reverse direction of the last two years, so it will be quite a “different” experience. “As always the last few weeks are pretty stressful so I am excited to get there and breathe a sigh of relief.”
He considers himself extremely lucky with his owners. “Clip Clop’s owners are wonderfully supportive and enthusiastic, and own part of Johnny Royale as well, so I always look forward to spending time with them there.”
Also key to the team is Meyer’s close friend, radio show co-host Max Corcoran who helps him with the horses and makes everything “more relaxed”. “She travelled with Clip Clop to Pau so knows him well,” he says. “He can be a very quirky horse to handle.”
Meyer, who has been training with Anna Merek for dressage and New Zealand Olympian Kirk Webby, says his preparation for the 4* has been great thanks to good weather and kind footing. Following Kentucky the young horses will head to Bromont CCI in June.
It’s a stellar line-up at Kentucky with the record-breaking three-time defending champ Michael Jung (GER) back for another crack aboard FischerRocana FST.
The 2016 Rolex Grand Slam winner spear-heads the list of eventing superstars that also includes the likes of William Fox-Pitt (GBR), Oliver Townend (GBR), Christopher Burton (AUS), Hawley Bennett-Awad (CAN), Phillip Dutton (USA), Boyd Martin (USA) and more.
Kiwi Olympian Sharn Wordley is taking his well-performed showjumper Casper to the inaugural Kentucky CSI3* Invitational.
“This (invitational) is a fantastic idea,” says Wordley. “Derek (Braun) has been talking about this for a few years now and it is great he has figured out how to get it run. It makes plenty of sense – you have that crowd there and most are passionate horse people. Having a Grand Prix like this makes it more of an event for them and makes sense for the sponsors too.”
Wordley and Casper have not had the ideal winter preparation but he is confident the horse is well back on track now. “We’ve regrouped a bit to get him back into the swing of things. I may be babying him a little but he is precious and we have a big summer ahead of us.”
Following Kentucky, the combination head to another two big Grand Prix in Lexington, followed by 5* events in Thunderbird and Spruce, with more to follow. “This is a great way to kick off our summer season.”
Also on the card at Kentucky are the likes of Kent Farrington, Jessica Springsteen, Darragh Kenny and other top combos. Hopes are high the Kentucky Invitational will become America’s most exciting, spectated and prestigious Grand Prix.
The horse details:
Clip Clop – owned by Theresa and Madison Foote
Johnny Royale – owned by the Team Johnny Syndicate
Casper owned by the Sky Group
WHAT: 2018 Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
WHERE: Kentucky, United States
WHEN: April 25-29, 2018
MORE INFO: kentuckythreedayevent.com
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison