It’s Olympians all the way in the New Zealand Jumping team for the FEI World Equestrian Games announced by Equestrian Sports New Zealand today.
Samantha McIntosh, Bruce Goodin, Daniel Meech and Sharn Wordley will represent the nation at the Games which are being held in the United States next month. All have ridden for New Zealand at the highest level, with McIntosh, Goodin and Meech in the victorious Kiwi team at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup of United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi in February.
Four-time Olympian Bruce has been named on Backatorps Danny V, a 10-year-old Dutch-bred horse who joined his stable for the Abu Dhabi competition. Backatorps Danny V is by Quasimodo Z out of Zepper (by Lupicor).
Forty-eight-year-old Bruce, who also represented New Zealand at the 2014 WEG in France, is very happy to be in the team. His naming today is all the more special as at the beginning of the year he didn’t have a horse suitable. It was just before the Abu Dhabi Nations Cup competition that the possibility of riding Backatorps Danny V came up.
“I rode him just four times before Abu Dhabi,” he says. “The whole Nations Cup was great and enough people got excited about it that we were able to arrange a deal to buy a percentage of the horse. For me, making the team is really pleasing and on board a good horse too. He is probably one of the best – if not the best – I have ever had to ride. I am very fortunate.”
Samantha has been named aboard her starry stallion Check In 2. The French based equestrienne has ridden at the Olympic Games as well as three WEGs, with her best effort at Jerez de la Frontera in 2002 where she was 11th individual. She was 17th at Aachen in 2006. Samantha also rode to 13th place at the FEI World Jumping Final in 2000.
Check In 2 was the anchor for the New Zealand team at Abu Dhabi, with McIntosh riding off with individual honours. The German-bred 15-year-old is by Bockmann’s Cordalme Z out of Ilonka (by Lord Pezi) and has been with Samantha since 2015. He’s been a very consistent performer through to 5* for his rider.
“I am very proud to be selected to be part of our team,” says Samantha. “It has been a fantastic year for New Zealand jumping and I hope we can continue our WEG campaign in similar fashion with great team work and success.”
Sharn is New Zealand’s highest ranked showjumper at 97. Based in the United States, the Hong Kong Olympian has been named aboard the 12-year-old Casper, who is by Contender out of Falubet (by Baloubet du Rouet). He’s also been a very consistent horse for Sharn, through to 5* level. His second mount Barnetta has been named as his reserve horse.
Sharn had every confidence he would make the team – on either of his top two horses. “I think Casper is the one that, for a championship, has the mentality to go into a new ring with lots of atmosphere and do well.” He felt it was a real bonus the riders have all known each other and competed together since the 1990s.
Daniel holds the honour as New Zealand’s best placed individual showjumper at Olympic level when he and Diagonal placed 12th at the Athens Games. He has been named on his 10-year-old Swedish-bred mare Fine who is by Corlensky G out of Cicilia (by Ciceron).
“It has been a goal with Fine to make the World Games,” said Daniel. “To be named is very exciting for my whole team of supporters here and back home in New Zealand. I owe them a big thank you. Now the huge challenge is to deliver something to make myself and New Zealand proud.”
Richard Gardner and Calisto 5 have been named as the non-travelling reserves. The combination was part of the Abu Dhabi Nations Cup team and recently had a solid 1.5m Grand Prix win in Germany.
WEG chef de mission Sarah Dalziell-Clout says all the riders have been whole-heartedly committed to ensuring New Zealand will front with a team.
“I think this has been driven by the momentum gained from their recent Nations Cup campaigns,” she said. “To have the support of Richard as the team’s reserve, ready to step in as required, is evidence of that. We wish the riders all the best in their final preparations.”
The New Zealand showjumpers will be wearing Cavalleria Toscana competition attire from The Rider Shop.
This is the fourth and final WEG announcement from ESNZ. Just last week the eventing team of Sir Mark Todd, Tim and Jonelle Price, Blyth Tait and Dan Jocelyn were named. The endurance representatives are Jenny Champion (Wairarapa) and Philip Graham (Canterbury) while dressage riders Julie Brougham (Palmerston North) and John Thompson (Hamilton) are already in the United States preparing for the Games.
The Jumping team:
Backatorps Danny V
Backatorp Ryder AB
AB Kastanjegärden, A Fine Syndicate and Daniel Meech
Check In 2
The Sky Group
GestGestüt Jennissen, Gut Nechen Agrar GmbH
The Sky Group
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ