New Zealand’s endurance horses are in the air and riders Jenny Champion and Philip Graham about to follow shortly.

Jenny accompanied Barack Obama on his trip from the Wairarapa to Auckland, with a stopover in Cambridge. The flight departed Auckland in the wee hours of Friday morning before heading to Christchurch where Philip’s Rosewood Bashir joined and then on to Sydney where vet Dr Nick Page gets on board for the 31-hour journey.

The trio then fly to New York via Shanghai and Anchorage. “I’m feeling excited and nervous,” said Jenny. “I am very happy with where we are at.”

Once on the ground, the horses will base at Shelby, about 20-minutes from the WEG grounds. They’ll have a five or six day rest before being brought back into work.

“I’m just looking forward to the final phases – it’s all coming together now,” said Jenny.

Philip has similar sentiments. “I’m trying to fit 10 things into a day that can only fit five,” he says. “I’m very happy with it all. We’ve peaked and come through – everything is on track. You do all the preparation and suddenly it is all on – I just need to make sure we have covered every base twice over!”

He reiterated how appreciative he was for all the fundraising efforts that had gone on to help get the two riders to WEG. “I am embarrassed and humbled by the support.”

Chef d’equipe Sue Reid also thanked everyone who had helped the riders on their mission.

“Fundraising has been happening in both islands with lots of raffles, auctions and hard work done by many of their friends. This has been much appreciated by the team.”

She made special mention to Randlab NZ, who have been sponsoring the high performance programme for several years with product for the horses, and Dr Nick Page from the Rolleston Veterinary Services who freely gave so much of his time.

“Philip and Jenny have been focussed all winter with training and getting the horses ready to leave New Zealand fit and well, and they have done a fantastic job!”


By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison