Caroline Powell's withdrawal from the FEI World Equestrian Games means South Island's Tim and Jonelle Price have become the New Zealand eventing team's first husband and wife combination.
An injury to Powell's horse, Onwards and Upwards, created the vacancy which has been filled by Jonelle Price and her mount Classic Moet in the team's individual category - allowing her to join spouse Tim for the event in Normandy, later this month.
Tim Price, who hails from Oxford, North Canterbury, moved to England about a decade ago to further his eventing aspirations and now runs an equestrian business in Wiltshire with Jonelle.
The pair met on the equestrian circuit in New Zealand and later Jonelle, who was raised in Motueka but later moved to Canterbury, moved to England. They were married in January last year.
Powell, originally from Canterbury but now based in the United Kingdom, lamented her misfortune when Onwards and Upwards had to be scratched.
"I am absolutely gutted but have always said that if he wasn't 100 per cent I would step aside and let someone else go," she said.
Jonelle Price, who was part of the bronze medal-winning team at the 2012 London Olympics, joins Lucy Jackson in the individual team.
Price rode Flintstar, who was bred on Tim's parents stud in Oxford, at the Olympics, but the mount has since been sold to a buyer in the United States.
"I'm very excited to have this opportunity. I'm sorry for Caroline to come in like this but we are all united in this game and share the highs and lows of the sport," Price said.
"If it was the other way round, I would be equally supportive of her as she is of me."
Tim Price's mother, Raewyn, said from Oxford yesterday that the pair's selection was payback for the effort they put into their business and eventing.
Earlier this year Tim, who attended Rangiora High School before moving overseas, shot to prominence when he won a four-star event in Germany. He had also been a serious contender at Badminton.
"I'm very pleased for them, given all the work they do to help make these things happen," Raewyn Price said. "They have had to make so many sacrifices along the way.
"It is the true New Zealand way isn't it? I think it is what so many Kiwis can do and have done."
Price said she can recall Tim, now 35, having to sell his car so he could afford to get his horses to the UK and keep chasing career opportunities. "He was one of those boys who started riding a hairy little pony when he was 5 and, eventually, eventing took over."
Meanwhile, Jock Paget who is in the New Zealand team, is still waiting to hear from the FEI about whether he is eligible to ride in Normandy.
Paget was barred from all competition in October after his horse, Clifton Promise, tested positive for the banned substance reserpine.
The test was conducted after Paget's victory in the Burghley horse trials, a title which passed to fellow New Zealander Andrew Nicholson.
Paget took his case to a tribunal hearing with the FEI in June. His provisional suspension was removed with the tribunal stating it was satisfied on a "balance of probabilities". Paget had demonstrated that he bore no fault or negligence for the equine anti-doping rule violation".
The FEI games run from August 23 to September 7. The eventing runs from August 28-31.
- The Press
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