The iconic CHIO Aachen is the next key stop for Kiwi eventers as they work towards the 2024 Olympic Games. New Zealand will field a team in the hotly-contested Nations Cup event at the hugely popular German event which runs from June 23 through to July 2 and includes eventing, dressage, showjumping, driving and vaulting – New Zealand will be represented in the eventing and, for the first time, vaulting by Jasmyn Rodriguez.

World eventing no.1 Tim Price and his 14-year-old Hanoverian Falco won their last outing in the CCIO4*-NC-S at Millstreet and were double bronze medal winners at the 2022 World Champs in Italy. World no.3 Jonelle Price will compete aboard McClaren, a 16-year-old Holsteiner who was seventh in his last outing in the CCIO4*-NC-S at Millstreet and have a third in the Pau 5* to their credits. The gelding was Sir Mark Todd’s mount at the 2018 World Champs with Jonelle picking up the ride shortly after.

Clarke Johnstone, who was also a member of the bronze medal-winning World Championships team, is in on Menlo Park, a 13-year old British-bred gelding who travelled from New Zealand with him. They were fifth in the CCIO4*-NC-S at Millstreet recently. Clarke looks forward to returning to Aachen and is keen to repeat the 2018 team victory. “Aachen is definitely one of my favourite events,” he says. “Menlo Park is in good form and hope that if we continue our good form from Millstreet as well as make a few improvements we should be competitive. It is exciting to be a part of a strong team as well and we will all be doing our best to repeat our 2018 team victory at Aachen.”

Caroline Powell has always rated her 10-year-old Irish sport horse Greenacres Special Cavalier. The mare has been with Caroline her whole international career and completed Badminton this year and placed fifth in the 5* at Pau in 2022.

Samantha Lissington lines up aboard Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ who won a CCI4*-L in Ireland last year. The team reserve is Dan Jocelyn with Blackthorn Cruise. The Nations Cup team will be named after the first horse inspection. They’ll all have a busy Friday (June 30) with the dressage in the morning and the showjumping in the main arena in the evening and the cross country on the Saturday.

Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance general manager Jock Paget says Aachen is a key event as they work towards the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. “Aachen is great for benchmarking as it attracts the best combinations in the world,” he said. “We had a strong run at Millstreet but there are not many team opportunities between now and Paris so we will make the most out of this great event and use it to tighten the screws as we get closer to Paris.”

The event is renowned for its toughness. “Aachen is a serious event and very difficult to win,” he said. “We have a strong team going and look forward to an opportunity to back up our Millstreet performance. This event always attracts the best combinations and the cross country is extremely challenging. Time will be tight and we will have to compete for every second.” He says the Kiwi team will certainly be fighting for a place on the podium.

Jasmyn Rodriguez is our sole vaulter at Aachen. The vaulting runs for three days from Friday (June 23) through to Sunday. She’s ecstatic to have the opportunity to compete at Aachen after securing a much coveted invitation. “I am more than stoked to compete in Aachen this year,” said the 19-year-old who has been based between the United States and Europe since November building up to July’s FEI World Vaulting Championship for young vaulters and juniors. “It is a huge honour to competed alongside so many incredible vaulters.” Jasmyn will compete aboard a borrowed horse, which will also be her mount for the worlds.

Aachen organisers proudly say they are to equestrian, what Wimbledon is to tennis and Wembley is to football. Around 350,000 people are expected through the gates over the event which while dates back to 1898 has introduced “ultra-modern” developments. “Innovation requires tradition” is the mantra.

WHERE: Aachen, Germany
WHEN: June 23-July 2, 2023

The horse details;
Falco (by Cardenio 2 out of Witta who is by Weinberg) – owned by Sue Benson and Tim Price
McClaren (by Vlarimo out of Toni 1 who is by Landjunge) – owned by David and Katherine Thomson
Menlo Park (by Berlin out of Faerie Queen who is by Rock King) – owned by Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone
Greenacres Special Cavalier (by Cavalier Royale out of Greenacres Touch who is by Touchdown) – owned by Chris Mann
Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ (by Caretino out of Quantum Flash who is by Tristaking) – owned by Pip McCarroll and Samantha Lissington
Blackthorn Cruise (by Vancouver out of Ms Cruise who is by Cruising) – owned by Panda Christie and Dan Jocelyn

By Diana Dobson – ESNZ high performance media liaison
Photo: Libby Law ESNZ