Top of the world: Tim Price takes first place in the international eventing rankings
Tim Price has made it to the top spot in the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) World Eventing Rankings announced yesterday (June 4).
Tim, who is based at Mildenhall and lives with his wife Jonelle in Marlborough, joins a rather elite clutch of New Zealand riders. Sir Mark Todd and Blyth Tait have also both been world No. 1 several times under different ranking systems.
Andrew Nicholson, who is based at Lockeridge, was New Zealand's last No. 1 ranked rider, holding the top slot for six months in 2012, all of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014. In the latest FEI rankings he is the only other New Zealander in the top ten - at eighth place, up from 31 the previous month.
In the rankings up to the end of May, Tim Price is ahead of four British riders with Oliver Townend in second place and Piggy French at third.
Graeme Thom, Equestrian Sports New Zealand eventing's high performance manager, reports that the whole team is thrilled for Tim’s achievement: “Tim’s natural ability, unflagging determination and grace in both victory and defeat has produced a model paladin who New Zealand is understandably very proud of.”
For 40-year-old Tim, who is a two-time Olympian, it has been a while in the making: “I have to admit to wanting to achieve this for some time. It’s gone from a dream, to a driving force, to a reality. It is a great marker point for my career . . . long may it continue!"
"I want to build and develop some more successes in the next few months to strengthen that reign.”
Tim feels the top place is more a recognition of consistency rather than outright winning: “I try to bring the best out of every opportunity I have. Not always to win, but always in a way that has my horses wanting to give effort for their own satisfaction and enjoyment as well as mine. For me, it is the coming together of all the hard work, a strong focus and great partnership with my equine friends.”
Tim Price started his equestrian career as a show jumper before making the shift to eventing. He and Jonelle had their first Badminton start in 2003 and returned in live in the UK permanently in 2005.
He and Jonelle, who has previously been ranked number two in the world, married in 2013. Their son Otis was born in August 2017.
Tim won his first CCI5*-L win in 2014 aboard Wesko at Luhmuhlen, beating the reigning world, European and Olympic champ Michael Jung (GER). That year he and Jonelle become New Zealand’s first husband and wife on a World Equestrian Games team.
The following year was a good one for this very determined couple, with Tim second at both Kentucky and Burghley, and third at Pau, and Jonelle second at Luhmuhlen and fifth at Burghley.They again made history when both were named on the team for the Rio Olympics.
But it was 2018 that became the year of the Prices - with Tim claiming Burghley and Jonelle both Badminton and Luhmuhlen.
And it was that Burghley win that marked the start of a points total that would culminate with his world No. 1 ranking. Tim now has the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games firmly in his sights.