Tim & Jonelle Lay Down a Challenge to Course Designer
Homecoming horse-powered eventing stars Tim and Jonelle Price are expecting a cross country course up there with some of the world’s toughest when they step out to compete at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show’s ‘Burghley Day’.
The returning Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials winner Tim Price and Badminton winning wife Jonelle are gearing up to take on New Zealand’s toughest competition, at the premier event’s new Burghley inspiredInternational 4 Star competition in Hawke’s Bay, next month.
Far from expecting a soft ride, the pair is hoping Kiwi course designer/builder Chris Ross will deliver a cross country track full of robust questions and technical elements.
“Chris is a very good course designer, very well respected he’s been to all the top events and assisted at places like the Rio Olympics,” says Tim.
“We’re expecting stiff competition and a stiff course but we’re into that, that’s what we want – the bigger the course the better. We don’t for a second think we’re coming to an easy competition but we’ll give it a good go.”
According to course designer Chris Ross, the course is taking shape nicely, and it’s going to be one exciting day out.
“I have some tough challenges in store for these world champions, but I am sure they will be at home over the Burghley jumps as they are just so good at the game.
“I have designed the track to be challenging and technical all the way around, keeping it interesting for the crowd and sponsors over the whole park and through the arenas.
“I know the best of our talented resident riders will certainly be getting ready to measure themselves against the champs prior to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“It’s a seriously gutsy sport so it’s going to be fascinating to watch,” says Chris.
Halberg Sportswoman of the Year nominee Jonelle Price is used to overcoming hurdles, creating world headlines with her comeback to top-level eventing by winning Badminton nine months after giving birth last year.
“We’ve certainly had a lot of our success when the going gets tough. Both Badminton and Burghley were won on a tough day of sport, it’s in keeping with the Kiwi mentality; when the going gets tough the tough gets going. So it will suit us if Chris delivers the course that we think he might,” says Jonelle.
The Prices both currently sit in the top ten World FEI Eventing rankings – with Tim number 3 and Jonelle ranked 7.
Their appearances at the Land Rover Horse of the Year Show mark the first time they’ve competed on home soil in fourteen years.
For Event Director Dave Mee, their inclusion in the line-up heralds a new and exciting era for the show.
“Tim and Jonelle leaving their UK preparations for Tokyo to come home to compete shows a huge commitment to New Zealand and growing the sport. We look forward to their contribution and seeing more of our top UK based kiwi riders following suit”, says Dave.
All eyes will be on the pair around the show’s Burghley Day inspired 4 Star cross country course, at the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds on Saturday, March 16th, 2019.
The pair famously refers to themselves as ‘the best of friends and fiercest of competitors’.
“We’ll be giving it a good nudge and I don’t mind if Jonelle comes second,” jokes Tim.
Tim and Jonelle will be available for a press conference with their Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials and Badminton Horse Trials trophies following the competition.
Land Rover Horse of the Year attracts in excess of 55,000 spectators every year over six days of competition, with over 1,400 riders and 1,800 horses competing and camping onsite at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds.
Photo credit Libby Law Photography.