There is plenty on the line for the many Kiwis lining up at the all-important Millstreet International Horse Trials in Ireland this weekend.

ESNZ are using the Nations Cup class as a targeted event to roll out team protocols and will also have a team compete in the Olympic qualifier despite having already qualified for Paris 2024. In all there are 26 New Zealand combinations lining up across the grades – possibly one of the biggest contingents ever.

ESNZ high performance general manger Jock Paget says there is a lot on the line. “Between now and Paris we have possibly up to six opportunities to function as a full team and this is our first, so it is important in the overall scheme of things,” says Jock.

The team in the CCIO4*-S comprises Clarke Johnstone aboard Menlo Park, Samantha Lissington with Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ, Tim Price on Falco and Jonelle Price aboard McClaren.

Millstreet, along with Aachen, Arville and Boekelo, are all part of New Zealand’s preparation for the 2024 Olympic Games. “Riding as a team is so different to riding as an individual. You may be asked to ride in a completely different way than you are used to. Everyone has a role to play based on where they are positioned in the team. This is an opportunity for riders to be exposed to that and for us to work with the riders and see how everyone does.”

The ultimate goal for the Nations Cup team will be to finish with a sub 90 penalty point score. “That is what we need for Paris but we will be carefully balancing that with the horse health side and the conditions at each event.” Those in the 4* long and short formats will also be chasing personal qualifications for the Olympic Games.

Jock sees the CCIO3*-L – the Olympic qualifier – as a team development chance for other combinations. “We are happy to be supporting Japan and Australia in their efforts to qualify a team,” he said. Both Japan and Australia still need to qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games. The qualifier at Millstreet is for FEI groups F and G – Africa, Middle East, South East Asia and Oceania.

The order-of-go draw for the Nations Cup will be done on Wednesday evening, with two days of dressage to follow, and both showjumping and cross country over Saturday and Sunday. Mike Etherington-Smith (GBR) has designed the cross country with James Tarrant (IRE) the showjumping course designer.

Millstreet is a happy hunting ground for the Kiwis. In 2022, in the CCI4*-L, world no.1 Tim Price and Coup de Dudevin were second behind Laura Collett (GBR) aboard Dacapo, with Clarke and Menlo Park fourth and Tim on Happy Boy sixth. Tim and Falco won the 4*-L in 2021, with Jonelle Price second and third aboard McClaren and Faerie Dianimo respectively, and second in the 3*-L on Faerie Magnifico. Kiwi Andrew Bennie is on the ground jury for the 2023 event.

The horse details;
Hiarado – owned by David and Karie Thomson
Capitaine De Hus Z – owned by Davie and Karie Thomson and Ginny Thomasen
Lord Seekonig – owned by Sharon Honiss, Annabelle and Robin Greville Williams, and Brayden and Samantha Lissington
Bing Bong – owned by Alexander and Joseph Giannamore
Good Timing – owned by The Volunteer Syndicate
Menlo Park – owned by Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone
Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ– owned by Pip McCarroll and Samantha Lissington
Happy Boy – owned by Susan Lamb and Therese Miller
Falco – owned by Sue Benson and Tim Price
Jarillo – owned by Lucy Allison, Frances Stead, and James and Rachel Good
McClaren – owned by David and Karie Thomson
Senor Crocodillo – owned by Alexander and Joseph Giannamore
Just Kidding – owned by The Pottinger Family
Chilli’s Midnight Star – owned by Nikki Axon and Merrill Halstead
Joopiter – owned by Therese Miller, Katherine Corich, and Sonya and Tayla Mason
Lucky Jo Jo – owned by Lucky Jo Jo Syndicate and Nick Brooks
Sparky Lad – owned by Waratah Equestrian Pty Ltd
Harbour Town – owned by Amanda Vosper and Sue Benson
Inception – owned by Tim Rusbridge
Caperfield – owned by Hugo and Sophie Bain
Esprit De Feu – owned by Tim Rusbridge
Quantas R – owned by The High Flyers Syndicate
Indo – owned by Caroline Cruddace
Mr Cookie Time – owned by Rachel Bessell, Neil Robertson and Samantha Lissington
Coolnorran Cooley – owned by Cooley Farm and Richard Sheane
Cooley Cornasus – owned by Cooley Farm and Richard Sheane

WHAT: Millstreet
WHEN: June 1-4, 2023
WHERE: Co Cork, Ireland
RESULTS: visit

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison