New Zealand will be represented in eventing and dressage at this month’s Paris Olympic Games. It’s a well-seasoned eventing team that will represent the nation, spear-headed by former world no.1 and 2, Tim and Jonelle Price, who are joined by Clarke Johnstone, and Caroline Powell as the alternate. Flying the flag in dressage is debutant Melissa Galloway.

This will be Jonelle Price’s fourth Games – she was a member of the bronze medal-winning team at London (2012), competed at Rio (2016) where the team placed fourth, and Tokyo (2020) for a fifth team placing where she was the best-placed Kiwi in 11th spot. She was also reserve at Athens (2004).

Jonelle who hails from Motueka but lives in the UK with Tim and their two children, will compete aboard her 12-year-old Dutch-bred mare Hiarado with Grappa Nera as her reserve horse. “I am very delighted to be selected for my fourth Games,” says Jonelle. “The Olympic Games is the pinnacle of any sport and resonates so globally which makes it extra special. I am delighted for myself, the team, friends and family who have all been instrumental in our careers.”

Jonelle Price rides Hiarado. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

She paid particular tribute to Hiarado’s owners David and Karie Thomson. “They have been such big supporters of New Zealand sport in general. I think this is really special for them too. We bought Hiarado two years ago specifically as a potential back-up (for Paris). I just happened to see this mare and really liked her.”

Jonelle says the mare is right up her street. “She has been nothing but magic since we bought her and gone from strength to strength. We are very well suited – she is gutsy, determined, feisty and strong-willed. We are a match made in heaven!”

World no.9 ranked Tim made his Olympic debut at Rio and also rode at Tokyo. He has been named aboard the 15-year-old German-bred Hanoverian gelding Falco with the 12-year-old Selle Francais gelding Coup de Coeur Dudevin his reserve horse.

Tim Price rides Falco. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

“I am very happy and excited to be involved in the Kiwi team again. Both horses are in good form and healthy. Now it is about us binding together as a team and having that team result we are all so desperate for. We are all in a good place and a great bunch of people who are all bringing forward really exciting horses.”

For Clarke Johnstone, the selection is extra special after a challenging year. “It has been an incredibly difficult year for me personally after the sudden death of my partner Codey at the end of 2023,” says Clarke. “Having the goal of the Olympic Games which we were both so invested in has kept me going the past six months and I have poured my heart and soul into training and competing my lovely horses this year to make our goal a reality. I know he would be so proud.”

Clarke Johnstone rides Menlo Park. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

The achievement is the culmination of years of “single-minded determination”, training and moving to the other side of the world to be in the best possible position to challenge for medals in Paris.  Clarke is from Outram but is also based in the UK and lining up at his second Games after also debuting at Rio where his sixth individual placing was the best of the New Zealand riders. He will compete aboard the 14-year-old British sport horse Menlo Park who he says feels like he is peaking at the perfect time for Paris.

The alternate combination is two-time Olympian Caroline Powell, who is originally from Christchurch, aboard Greenacres Special Cavalier with whom she recently won the CCI5* at Badminton. Caroline made her Olympic debut at the Beijing Games and won a team bronze at London in 2012.

Caroline Powell rides Greenacres Special Cavalier. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography

Caroline is excited to be back in the Olympic environment. “What an honour to represent my country again,” she said. “I can’t wait for the Games. It’s always a very special time.” Greenacres Special Cavalier is an 11-year-old Irish sport horse mare who Caroline has long believed in and carefully brought her through the grades. She and Lenamore won Burghley 5* in 2010, the same year she was part of the bronze medal winning team at the World Championships at Kentucky.

Dressage representative Melissa Galloway (Marlborough) has a world ranking of 26, the highest ever for a Kiwi. “I cannot explain what this means to me,” she says of being named for Paris. “This has been my dream since I was 11 years old and now, 20 years later to be actually realising it is unbelievable. I feel so honoured and grateful to everybody who has supported me on this whole journey for all those years.”

Her family had been “completely and utterly supportive” throughout and so many others. Windermere J’Obei W was the horse of her dreams and the one who had made her dreams come true. “I can’t wait to give it everything we have and do New Zealand proud,” said Melissa who has been based in The Netherlands as she campaigned for the Games. “Joey (her horse) is feeling in his best shape ever and feels as though he is going to peak at the right time. It is all so surreal. To have made it through all the challenges definitely makes all the blood, sweat and tears worth it.”

Melissa Galloway Melissa andWindermere J’Obei W © Hippo Foto Media- Dirk Caremans

Equestrian Sports New Zealand high performance general manager Jock Paget, himself a team bronze medal winner from the London Olympic Games, said the eventing selection had been particularly hard.

“We had lots of strong combinations to choose from. It was the biggest selection headache I have witnessed in my time but we now have a really strong team who I think will be suitable for what we expect to go into in Paris,” he said. “Our reserve combinations are strong and committed to being in the best shape possible if called on for the games, and we are looking forward to getting into our final camp to finish our prep.” It was testament to riders and owners who had committed to being available for the Games and positioned themselves for Olympic selection.

Jock also praised the efforts of Melissa Galloway. “Melissa has been very targeted and dedicated throughout this campaign and I look forward to seeing her take the stage at her first Olympics.”

ESNZ chief executive Julian Bowden said it was exciting to have the team announced. “We know how tough the eventing competition will be this year but we have great experience in there and know they will give everything to get onto the podium,” he said. “It is fantastic to see all of Melissa’s hard work and dedication pay off with her selection. She’s no stranger to the big stage and I know we will all be cheering her on.”

NZOC chief executive Nicki Nicol extended her congratulations to the athletes. “We’re thrilled to have a strong and experienced equestrian team named for the Games,” said Nicki. “New Zealand has a proud equestrian history at the Games and we look forward to cheering these athletes on as they wear the fern and make us proud in Paris.”

The eventing competition at Paris 2024 begins on July 27 and the dressage on July 30, with competition to be held in the ground of the beautiful Chateau de Versailles.

New Zealand will not be represented in showjumping at the Games.

OLYMPIC EQUESTRIAN TEAM

Clarke Johnstone

Menlo Park

Eventing

Jonelle Price

Hiarado

Eventing

Tim Price

Falco

Eventing

Melissa Galloway

Windermere J’Obei W

Dressage

TRAVEL EVENTING RESERVE

Caroline Powell

Greenacres Special Cavalier

NON-TRAVELING EVENTING RESERVES

Dan Jocelyn

Blackthorne Cruise

James Avery

MBF Connection

Jonelle Price

Grappa Nera

Monica Spencer

Artist

Samantha Lissington

Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ

Tim Price

Coup De Coeur Dudevin

Tim Price

Jarillo

THE HORSE DETAILS

Horse

Breeding

Owners

Artist

by Guillotine out of Maxamore who is by Volksraad

owned by Monica and Andrew Spencer

Blackthorn Cruise

by Vancouver out of Ms Cruze who is by Cruising

owned by Panda Christie and Dan Jocelyn

Greenacres Special Cavalier

by Cavalier Royale out of Greenacres Touch who is by Touchdown

Chris and Michelle Mann and Caroline Powell

 

Coup de Coeur Dudevin 

by Top Gun Semilly out of Tiebreak Combehory who is by Leprince des Bois

Jean-Louis Stauffer and Tim Price

Falco

by Cardenio 2 out of Witta who is by Weinberg

Sue Benson and Tim Price

Grappa Nera

by Karendasj out of Cetonette who is by Babalouba

The Grape Syndicate and Jonelle Price

Hiarado

by Diarado out of Ubiloa who is by Ekstein

David and Karie Thomson

Jarillo

By Dantos out of Fiorilla who is by Alicante

Lucy Allison, Frances Stead, James and Rachel Good

MBF Connection

by Luidam out of Traditionally Aloof

Hazel Liversey and James Avery

Menlo Park

by Berlin out of Faerie Queen who is by Rock King

Jean, Rob and Clarke Johnstone

Ricker Ridge Sooty GNZ

by Caretino out of Quantum Flash who is by Tristaking

Pip McCarroll and Samantha Lissington

 

Windermere J’Obei W

by Johnson TN out of Miss Pomepii who is by Pompeii

Anne and Rodney Parkes and Melissa Galloway

 

By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison

Photos by Libby Law/ESNZ