Tim Price wins second place in world eventing rankings as 2017 season ends
You can't really get away from the word: it's been a very eventful year for Marlborough's New Zealand eventers Jonelle and Tim Price. Their first child - a boy named Otis - was born on Wednesday, August 16. And now the eventing season has ended with Tim gaining second place in the world rankings.
Tim Price told marlboroughequestrian.news: "I've had a really good season - this is the cherry on top." He admits to being a little surprised at his place on the International Equestrian Federation's (FEI) rankings: "It's the way the dice landed."
He acknowledges that his placing would have been very different if fellow New Zealander Andrew Nicholson (FEI's No. 5) had won last month's Etoiles de Pau four star competition.
As it was Nicholson retired with Qwanza during Pau's tricky cross country course. The FEI's top ten at the end of the season includes three New Zealanders (Price, Nicholson and Sir Mark Todd - all based in the Marlborough area) and three British riders.
Britain's Gemma Tattersall has taken FEI's third place, but with same number of points as Tim Price. They each accumulated 450 points through the season - against the 463 tally of Germany's star rider Michael Jung. There must be some deep mathematical dive into the data to split Price and Tattersall.
Jonelle and Tim Price live in Marlborough and have their stables on the downs near Midlenhall. Due to her pregnancy, Jonelle has not competed for most of the season.
Tim had a pretty close call during the Le Pin au Hara near Caen. He was competing with two horses and reckoned he could get home in seven hours - by ferry from Caen if the birth looked imminent.
Tim won the CCI three star riding his wife's horse Ascona M - the competition ended on August 15 and Otis arrived the next day.
But she was back competing on September 8 at the Gatcombe International and later that month finished fourth in the CIC three star at Ballindenisk in County Cork ("It rained and rained - it was horrible") on her Rio Olympic partner Faerie Dianimo. They went on to take took tenth place in the Pau four star in October.
This season has seen them, Tim Price says, taking some of their younger horses 'along a little' and they are both looking forward to a full round of competitions next year with a dozen three and four star horses. They are currently looking for one or two six or seven year olds for next year's intermediate and novice classes.
They also have another season of Event Rider Masters (ERM) to look forward to. Tim Price applauds the arrival of ERM: "It's a really good innovation. They've done the sport a world of good - with data delivery for spectators, expert commentary and live TV."
"And they've made others up their game. If your horse trials are following an ERM event - you have to take a step up."
Eventers are now looking to see whether ERM can land a really big sponsor from outside the sport - to give it both a more commercial and more popular appeal.