Tim and Jonelle Price are in Poland this week, competing at the LOTTO Strzegom Horse Trials with a clutch of their top horses.
Tim, the world no. 2, will compete in the CCI4*-L aboard his old campaigner Wesko, as well as his up-and-comer Spartaco, while Jonelle is in aboard McClaren and Grappa Nera. Tim is also running Falco in the CCI4*-S.
It is the first time Jonelle has competed in Poland and she’s heading there with two horses she is “very excited” about. “Grappa Nera is only a nine-year-old so very much coming through but I am hoping she will be one of my (top) horses for years to come. “She is quite an excitable mare . . . the dressage has taken time but we are starting to see some glimpses” says Jonelle. The black mare was just outside of the top 10 at Le Pin au Haras in the CCI4*-S earlier this month but eighth in her last CCI4*-L start at Millstreet last year.
McClaren only joined Team Price in March and the two are still getting to know each other but clearly there is plenty of promise there. “We learnt a lot about each other in France (at Haras) and he is definitely showing his class which he has done throughout his career but hasn’t quite been able to capitalise on yet . . . hopefully we are not too far away from that.”
Tim looks forward to every outing with his 17-year-old WEG mount Wesko. The combination have been solid at 5* level over the years, with a win at Luhmuhlen, and podium finishes at Kentucky and Pau. “Every opportunity or occasion is just a treat with him,” says Tim. “He is a bit of a late subbie in for this one. I just want to give him a nice extended cross country to prepare him possibly for Pau down the track but also it would be nice to get a little qualification for him for next year (Tokyo). He is in great form and I am looking forward to getting out and about.”
Nine-year-old grey Spartaco has spent his whole international career with Tim and this will be the Italian-bred gelding’s first crack at a 4*-L. “He had a good double clear in the 4*-S in France a couple of weeks ago so hopefully he gets some good experience (in the 4*-L). I know he is a classy horse and I am looking forward to him demonstrating that.”
There are just 10 combinations on the card for the 4*-L including riders from Austria, Italy, Japan and Poland, alongside the Kiwis.
The CCIO4*-S includes a Nations’ Cup competition and has attracted European champs Ingrid Klimke (GER) aboard SAP Hale Bob OLD among other starry combos from Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Sweden and Poland. Tim is in aboard Falco, an 11-year-old who is described as a “lovely little horse who is a lot of fun in all departments”.
The event has attracted nearly 300 horses. Competition kids off on Thursday with the dressage. Bernd Backhaus (GER) is the course designer. COVID saw the event shifted from early July to this week and means only residents from Strzegom will be allowed in as spectators. There are strict rules in place to ensure the safety of all at the event.
Competition gets underway Thursday evening NZ time.
THE HORSE DETAILS:
Grappa Nera – owned by The Grape Syndicate and Jonelle Price
McClaren – owned by David and Katherine Thomson
Spartaco – owned by Tim and Jonelle Price
Wesko – owned by The Windrush Equestrian Foundation and Tim Price
Falco – owned by Sue Benson, Jackie Olivier and Tim Price
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
File Photos by Libby Law Photography