The countdown is on for the Ecco FEI World Championships 2022 with just days until the Kiwi contingent move into the champs village.

New Zealand’s dressage team – the first to compete at a championships since 1998 – is primed and ready. Gaylene Lennard with Jax Johnson, Melissa Galloway on Windermere J’Obei W, and John Thompson aboard Chemistry will meet in Herning on Tuesday (August 2). Melissa is currently in The Netherlands, with Gaylene and John in Germany.

There is a massive fundraising drive going on in New Zealand  auctions and contributions flowing in. A fun auction at the dressage awards dinner raised $6000, with a much larger offering via Facebook set to finish on Friday (July 29).

ESNZ Dressage sport manager and Team chef d’equipe Wendy Hamerton says the support has been incredibly generous. “It’s so important for our riders to see this,” she says. “Not only does it ease the burden financially for them, but it shows that the dressage community is really behind them.”

ESNZ Dressage has contributed $125,000 to the campaign, and Wendy expects the other fundraising efforts to raise over $100,000. “We are grateful for some significant individual contributions. However, each of the riders will still need to contribute personally for their associated campaign costs. It costs an eye-watering $82,000 for a return equine airfare to Frankfurt, including quarantine on the way home.

At the Champs, the horse inspection is on Friday (August 5), followed by the Grand Prix (team and individual) over August 6-7 (1100hrs-2000hrs), with the top 30 going through to the Grand Prix Special on August 8 (1330hrs-1950hrs). The top 15 from the Special will progress to the Grand Prix Freestyle.

More than 200,000 spectators are expected at the Championships over the nine days, with jumping, para-dressage and vaulting also being run. The eventing champs will be held at Pratoni in Italy from September 15-25.

Herning is New Zealand’s only chance at qualifying a team for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games if they can finish as the highest-ranked country in Olympic Group G – comprising South East Asia and Oceania. The closest New Zealand has previously come to having a team at the Games is when a team qualified in 2011 but did not meet NZOC and ESNZ selection criteria.

But for now, all eyes are on Herning where three fantastic combinations will look to do themselves and their nation proud.

WHAT: FEI World Championships 2022
WHERE: Herning, Denmark
WHEN: August 6-14, 2022
TIME DIFFERENCE: Denmark is 10 hours behind New Zealand
FACEBOOK: Herning2022
NZ FACEBOOK: Equestrian Sports NZ
APP: FEI app

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison