NZ names WEG showjumping team

August 21, 2010

Equestrian Sports New Zealand has named one of its strongest ever jumping teams for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky next month.


Maurice Beatson and Jedi Warrior
© Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com


Samantha McIntosh and Loxley
© Kenneth Kraus/PhelpsSports.com

Showjumping high performance leader Richard Sunderland has named Samantha McIntosh (Waikato/Belgium) on Loxley 38, Katie McVean (Mystery Creek) on Dunstan Delphi, Guy Thomas (California) on Peterbilt, and Maurice Beatson (Dannevirke) on Apollo van Evendael for the Kiwi team.

Sunderland is Chef d'equipe for the event, and Guy Thomas's father, Butch, is the trainer.

"Potentially this is the best team I have ever had anything to do with, and reflects the new direction the ESNZ High Performance Programme has taken, to ensure that those selected have the ability to achieve the high targets set," Sunderland said.

"We've got three who are consistently jumping clear at 1.6m and a fourth with a young horse coming into his own now."

Sunderland said that while Apollo was the most inexperienced horse, Beatson was a superb horseman with top international experience and was also a past Olympian.

Beatson rode for New Zealand at the 1988 Olympics and 1994 World Games, Thomas rode at the 2004 Olympics and McVean the 2008 Olympics. McIntosh competed at the Sydney 2000 Olympics for Bulgaria and is considered one of the most successful showjumping riders to have come out of New Zealand. She has also competed at World Championships, a World Cup final and European Championships. McIntosh returned to New Zealand colours earlier this year.


Guy Thomas and Peterbilt


Katie McVean and Delphi

All four riders named are experienced international competitors who are no strangers to riding as a team, which can often throw up quite different challenges than riding as an individual. Having four in the team allowed a drop score, with just the best three counting.

However, having recently been at Aachen and Spruce Meadows where he saw the best in the world compete, Sunderland has no doubt the Kiwis slot in just fine.

"But it all comes down to the day," says Sunderland. "These are horses, you have to remember that, but we have excellent horse men and women ..."

The four will compete individually as well as in the team event. It's a grueling process, with a week of jumping 1.5m to 1.6m courses daily with just one day off between the team and individual events.

"We have to concentrate on getting through to the second round of the team competition - just 10 nations go through - but I am quietly confident you'll see the silver fern amongst them."

 

Sign up for Horsetalk's eNews