Later this month, Marlborough News Online will be making some changes to make the site more relevant, more interesting – and attract more readers. Plans for the main site will be announced soon. But MNO will have a whole new section carrying news and views about and for the area’s ‘horse industry’ – a vital and under-reported part of the local economy.
Here, as a taster, is the first column from Harriet Rochester who will be a regular contributor to the section’s VIEWS pages:
Harriet Rochester: Marlborough Downs Uncovered
Welcome! I love Marlborough and especially its downs where I can often be found – generally on my horse Thomas, and, on the odd occasion, chasing a distant back end view of him.
Our area is littered with equestrian talent, human and equine. And it offers some wonderful stories from the world of the horse. In this column I hope to uncover some of the characters and personalities that make Marlborough so special for the horse and their devoted admirers.
Kiwi rider Jonelle Price on international What If’s, Molly and Marlborough
We’ve all experienced moments in our life when we utter those immortal words – ‘What If…?’
Fresh off the boat from Normandy, Jonelle Price tells me she’s thinking just that – after missing out on a medal in the eventing competition at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) on board Classic Moet.
“If you had said to me last week that Molly (Classic Moet) and I would finish in the top four I would have been delighted”, says Jonelle.
And then, with her competitive streak clearly burning, she quickly adds: “But it feels rather bitter sweet now, as we would have made the podium if we hadn’t taken the rail down in the showjumping. Like in any sport, the closer you get the more you want and despite being thrilled with Molly, it would have meant literally the world to steal a medal”.
Jonelle and Molly received a late call up to ride for New Zealand as an individual at the French equestrian spectacle last week. Demanding conditions combined with some tough questions resulted in a few surprising casualties in the cross-country, including fellow team-mate and husband Tim Price riding Wesko and Sir Mark Todd on board Leonidas, putting New Zealand’s team hopes for a medal firmly to bed.
“As I was an individual there wasn’t the responsibility of riding for the team, so we went out and gave it everything. I was also confident Molly would handle the tiring ground being nearly all thoroughbred, so we kicked on”, explains Jonelle who leapt from 26th place after the dressage to equal fourth after an astonishing display of sound, quick cross country riding.
She returned the fastest round of the day. Jonelle then sneaks a cheeky shot at the selectors: “That’ll teach them to leave us off the team!”
Nine years ago Tim and Jonelle left New Zealand to forge their careers as event riders in the UK choosing Mildenhall, just outside Marlborough, as a base for their stables. Now they are established as two of the most respected riders on the eventing scene and currently lie eighth and eleventh respectively in the International Federation for Equestrian Sports’ world rankings.
Marlborough is fast becoming tagged as a ‘Little New Zealand’ due to the strong contingent of kiwi riders that now surround it, which Jonelle regards as home now.
“Tim and I were both acutely aware of the fantastic support we received in France. Not only from those who make the effort to be at the event, but our phones, Facebook and twitter accounts were a hive of activity with wishes. It means a lot to know that back home there’s a crew rooting for us”.
Event riders have a relentless schedule at this time of year – whilst chatting to Jonelle she’s re-packing for Burghley Horse Trials. The event is the Autumn ‘blue riband’ of the eventing circuit. She leaves for Burghley to compete on The Deputy just 24 hours after arriving back from Caen and her WEG fourth place.
As human’s we are programmed to ask ‘What if…?’ But the true competitor that Jonelle is, she will be aiming to minimise every chance of a ‘what’ and a ‘if’ edging into her Burghley performance this week – and I strongly advise that you watch this space.
Burghley Horse Trials runs from 4-7 September.
Harriet Rochester is the founder of HSRM Ltd specialising in PR and marketing – concentrating on sports and equestrian sports in particular.
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