Powell to draw strength from a sad month

JONATHAN MILLMOW IN LONDON
Last updated 22:14 27/07/2012
Caroline Powell
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
SAD MONTH: Caroline Powell at the New Zealand equestrian team press conference.

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Caroline Powell brings a heavy heart and an old horse to the Olympic equestrian event but says neither will hold her back.

Powell lost her mother Ailsa Turner to cancer three weeks ago and she could be excused if emotion did get the better of her at Greenwich Park.

But speaking on the eve of the event, the 39 year-old Christchurch born Scotland based rider said her state of mind was strong and the death might even prove a driving force.

"I'm pretty good," she said.

"It has been quite a sad month, but you have to deal with it.

"She is sitting there waiting for us and perhaps if it gets tight on the last day I'll pull on her for help."

The timing of her mum's death may in fact have been a blessing for Powell. Her mum waged a long battle with cancer and her eventual passing coincided with the team selection announcement rather than the Olympic event itself.

"In a way, there was a little window to get to the funeral (in Christchurch) and we took it and it was fantastic, wouldn't have missed it for the world.

"Then I got back (Scotland) and was able to concentrate on things. In many ways it is not nice but..."

Powell and Lenamore were New Zealand's best performed individuals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with their 14th place.

Four years on, Lenamore is a staggering 19-years-old, but he is as well as ever, according to Powell.

The veteran horse is small and nippy and should be suited to the undulations on the cross country course.

"We should be fine," Powell said.

"He is very fit and usually the older they get the easier they are to keep fit because the core fitness is good.

"We have some good hills in Scotland, so we've been traipsing up them and he has had a lot of variation in his fitness so he feels great.''

Powell does not fear or favour any of the three disciplines. The dressage is up first on Saturday and Sunday, followed by the cross country and then the showjumping.

"Just getting through the whole thing is the challenge," she said.

"You get one out of the way and then you think "thank God" but automatically the pressure piles on for the next day."

Powell's New Zealand team-mates are Mark Todd, Andrew Nicholson, Jock Paget and Jonelle Richards.

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- Fairfax Media

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