The first of New Zealand’s representatives for the FEI World Championships have been named, with the announcement of offshore based dressage riders Melissa Galloway and John Thompson.
Melissa and Windermere J’Obei W have been based in The Netherlands since November, with John and Chemistry living in Australia in recent years.
Twenty-nine-year-old Melissa (Marlborough) had an almost perfect start to their European campaign with qualifying scores and personal bests at their first outing at a CDI3* in Belgium. Windermere J’Obei W is an 11-year-old New Zealand-bred warmblood gelding who has been with his doting rider since he was two. “I owe so much to him,” she said. “I am extremely excited to have been selected for my first World Championships. It is something I have always dreamt of and to be actually selected is very special and surreal.”
Doing it with her “incredible horse” who she had been on the journey with for so many years, made it even more special. She also thanked her husband Lachy and family. “They have supported me from day one and always believed that I could achieve this dream.”
John Thompson was also “absolutely thrilled” to be named aboard 10-year-old Chemistry who he had discovered in The Netherlands as a four-year-old. “We have taken this adventure together moving him from a young horse to now doing his third season of Grand Prix,” he said. “It has been a lot of hard work, with early mornings and long nights in between.”
While John had always had high hopes for the black stallion, Chemistry had exceeded that at every level. “It has been a dream of mine to compete at the World Championships and to do it on a horse I have trained myself is even more special.”
Chemistry’s owners the Kyros family had been hugely supportive of their goal to get to the champs. “It has been great to share this whole adventure with them, my family, partner and our team at home who have been there every step of the way.”
ESNZ high performance general manager Jock Paget says the dressage representatives have been named early so they can focus on their World Championship preparation. “It is an exciting time for dressage in New Zealand,” he says. “There is a lot of momentum in the discipline and we want to build on that. These are two real standouts for us.”
The door has been left open for another combination to meet the criteria for the championships, while Gaylene Lennard and Jax Johnson made themselves unavailable for selection.
“The ideal would be for us to have a (dressage) team at the championships and then have a crack at getting qualified as a team for the Paris Olympic Games,” says Jock. “That would be history-making for New Zealand. We have never had a dressage team at an Olympic Games, but if we can’t go as a team, we will support our individuals on their journey.”
The ECCO FEI World Championships will be held in Herning, Denmark from August 6-15. Disciplines have been split, with the dressage and showjumping in Denmark, and the eventing and driving in Pratoni, Italy from September 15-25.
ESNZ will be looking to announce more members from other disciplines to the team over the coming months.
The horse details:
Chemistry – owned by the Kyros Family
Windermere J’Obei W – owned by Melissa Galloway, Anne and Rodney Parkes
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison