New Zealand eventers are well in touch with the leaders, sitting in third place as they enter the final test in the CCIO4*-S at CHIO Aachen in Germany. The team score of 89.1 penalty points was just behind the Brits on 86 with the United States hot on the Kiwis heels with 89.7.
The Brits are leading on 91.6 penalty points with the United States in second on 98.1 and the Kiwis in third on 101.3. Ireland sit in fourth on 118.4, just a smidgen ahead of Germany on 118.7 and France in sixth on 118.7.
Tim was happy with Falco’s dressage, adding he is a horse with so much more to give in the future. “It was a nice test with no real faults,” he said. “We just want to brush up the quality of all the movements.”
Jonelle was a bit disappointed with McClaren’s score but apart from being a little naughty in the walk she felt it was his best test to date.
The showjumping is always influential at Aachen and didn’t disappoint this year. Just six of the 39 combinations on the card were clear and inside time, with a further four clear but picking up a single time penalty. Among those were Jonelle and McClaren, with Madison and Waitangi Pinterest and Tim aboard Falco taking a rail apiece. Jesse and Amsterdam added 12 to their tally.
At the end of the day, Kirsty Chabert (GBR) and Classic VI lead the field on 29.5 with Tim and Falco in 10th on 33, Jonelle and McClaren in 12th on 33.4, Madison with Waitangi Pinterest 14th on 34.9 and Jesse aboard Amsterdam in 26th on 41.6.
Tayla Mason and Centennial, who are riding as individuals were in 23rd after the dressage with a 33.5 penalty point score but moved up to 19th post showjumping after taking a rail and adding a time penalty.
The Aachen arena had been a big step up for Tim’s Falco. “It was a big deal for him and he showed his greenness. It is a very rare day that he takes a rail – but he did today. That big Aachen effect just bore down on him,” he said. “It does something to them you can’t compare to anywhere else.”
Jonelle was full of praise for the Kiwi first-timers at Aachen. “It is quite a unique situation for us – we haven’t had that for as long as I can remember but they both acquitted themselves well and made a great job on debut,” she said.
ESNZ eventing high performance eventing manager Graeme Thom was pleased with all five riders. “It was a good day,” he said. “We were in good shape after the dressage with a solid second. Showjumping at Aachen is always influential here and unfortunately we slipped a spot but (nearly) everyone was having time faults and the plus was that we only picked up 1.6 in total for the team. Maddison and Tayla jumped great rounds as first-timers here at Aachen and I think they were both very impressive. It is usually a big adjustment to get into an arena that size.”
The whole team is looking forward to the cross country which Graeme says is difficult with a tight time. Tim says they’re all “honing” in on it. “It is going to be rapid and the questions always get amplified because we are in a hurry,” says Tim. “We hope we can do a good job and come home solid as a team.”
Jonelle is also confident the team is well in the hunt. “It is very close and with some good rounds tomorrow maybe we can claw it back. The course looks good – it is perhaps a touch softer than we have seen historically at Aachen but it is reflective of the field and obviously with the Olympics and the Europeans it is a slightly weaker field than we have seen here in the past.”
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ