23 Oct 2020

Team Price fly the NZ flag in France

1:57 pm on 23 October 2020

Tim and Jonelle Price will be the sole New Zealanders competing in the one and only top flight international equestrian competition of the year in Pau, in France over the weekend.

There are just six top ranking events held internationally each year but COVID has meant the cancellation of Kentucky, Badminton, Luhmuhlen, Burghley and Adelaide.

A new one in Maryland, in the United States, was also forced to postpone its inaugural running.

Between the husband and wife pairing they have won five top flight events and world number two Tim has a trio of horses on the card in 17-year-old Burghley winner Ringwood Sky Boy, Wesko and Xavier Faer.

Tim Price and Wesko competing in Pau in 2019.

Tim Price and Wesko competing in Pau in 2019. Photo: Libby Law Photography/ESNZ

Ringwood Sky Boy also comnpeted at the Rio Olympic in 2016 and won Burghley in 2018 and has been with Tim his whole competitive career, which started in 2010.

Seventeen-year-old Wesko has also been in the Price stable for almost ten years and won at Luhmuhlen, and has previously finished second at Kentucky and third Pau while 14-year-old Xavier Faer has been on the podium at both Badminton and Kentucky.

"The horses all feel great - they are in good form and are all very experienced and hoping we will be able to demonstrate that. It has been a bit of an odd year as we all know so they haven't had the normal preparation but I am very happy to be on these more experienced horses," said Tim Price.

Jonelle will compete on Faerie Dianimo, the 15-year-old British-bred grey mare who she rode at Rio and won at Luhmuhlen in 2018, was second in 2015, and fourth at Pau in 2014.

She will also compete on Grovine de Reve who is on debut at this level.

"We are very happy with the Pau preparation...with having stayed down in France. Normally we would have been going back and forth but due to the travel restrictions we have just stayed down here this time."

The team have been based at Lignieres for the past few weeks and have 12 horses with them who are competing across various events in the coming weeks.

"It has worked out very well. It is the first time we have done it like this - excellent facilities so a good opportunity to spend time with these horses and do the final preparations. It has been smooth sailing and feeling lucky to be heading in with five healthy horses.

Last year, Tim was the best of the New Zealanders competing at the Pau event finishing sixth.

All up there are 62 combinations from 10 countries in the field including the current top 5 in the FEI world rankings.