New Zealand has had a dream start to the FEI World Eventing Championships in Italy with debutant Monica Spencer in third place at the end of day one of dressage, Clarke Johnstone in eighth, and the team in second.

But it is still early days, with another full day of dressage underway tonight and the small matter of both cross country and showjumping to follow. New Zealand are on 53 with Great Britain leading on 45.5 and the United States right behind the Kiwis on 53.5.

Monica and her unraced thoroughbred Artist posted 25.6 penalty points for a personal best at 5* level – their 4* best is 25.5. “Somebody pinch me,” said Monica. “I am so proud that Max (Artist) put out a good test – he did his job. When I was riding it, it was just one movement at a time the whole way through. Just piece by piece. I was fully in the zone. I am on autopilot and just focused on setting him up for each movement . . . and worrying about pushing too hard.”

Despite the intensity of the test, Monica said it was fun. “Obviously the judges liked it – that’s just awesome. But there are lots of horses to come and I am sure plenty will go ahead of that (score).”

But for now she was going to enjoy the moment. “I need to focus on finishing on that (score). You do things at home and you come all this way . . . it’s just cool we could do what we do. How surreal to be in third place overnight at the World Championships.”

ESNZ general manager of high performance, Jock Paget was impressed. “It is her first world champs, she was first to go for the team and just 10th combination of the day. It is harder to get the scores when you go earlier but that’s just Monica,” he said. “She goes out there on a thoroughbred and does a 25.6.”

Olympian and former World Champs representative Clarke Johnstone and Menlo Park are in eight on their 27.4 penalty point effort. “I am thrilled with Jacko’s (Menlo Park) performance today,” said Clarke. “He was a real professional in the arena and really rose to the occasion, giving me his full attention. 27.4 is a great score for where we are at and I’m very excited that the Kiwis are in second after day one.”

Laura Collett (GBR) and London 52 leads on 19.3 with Yasmin Ingham (GBR) and Banzai du Loir in second on 22. Forty-four of the 88 strong field have completed their dressage, with Jonelle Price on McClaren, Tim Price with Falco, and individual rider Amanda Pottinger aboard Just Kidding all set to go overnight.




NZ Time

Dressage Day 2 – Session 1

Friday 16th


Amanda Pottinger

Friday 16th


Jonelle Price

Friday 16th


Dressage Day 2 – Session 2

Friday 16th


Tim Price

Saturday 17th


Cross Country

Saturday 17th


Second Horse Inspection

Sunday 18th



Sunday 18th


Jumping – Top 25

Monday 19th



Falco – owned by Sue Benson and Tim Price
McClaren – owned by David and Katherine Thomson
Menlo Park – owned by Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone
Artist – owned by Monica and Andrew Spencer
Just Kidding – owned by the Pottinger Family

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ