He par­ity be­tween men and women in eques­tri­an­ism is one of its great strengths. In no other Olympic sport do they com­pete on equal terms. But it means that, oc­ca­sion­ally, a hus­band and wife will hit the top in the same dis­ci­pline at the same time, cre­atin

NZ Horse & Pony - - Countdown to Rio 2016 -

any­where in the fam­ily,” she says.

“I just had a weird ob­ses­sion with horses and was ut­terly de­ter­mined to ride from a very young age.

“Fi­nally, Mum re­alised it wasn’t a pass­ing thing and we leased a pony.”

Jonelle found school very easy, and her mother was keen that she pur­sued an aca­demic ca­reer.

“She bribed me – if I went to univer­sity, she would keep sup­port­ing the horses.”

Jonelle did the first year of a law de­gree, but the call of event­ing was too strong.

Tim was the first of the pair to do a four-star, namely Ade­laide in 2002. He won the CCI3* at Puhinui on the same horse, De­samoray, later the same year.

Jonelle ex­plains: “Tim had a very de­cent horse. I had a good one [Mazetto], al­beit one who had done less and had had time off, and we were both well-placed at the na­tional cham­pi­onships.

“The New Zealand se­lec­tors sat a few of us down and said, ‘Have you given the Athens Olympics any thought? You’re out­side chances, but it is pos­si­ble. Get your­selves to Eng­land and go to Burgh­ley’.”

Tim made it to Burgh­ley in 2003, while un­for­tu­nately, Jonelle’s horse missed the event through ill­ness.

But they both went to Bad­minton in the spring of 2004, and Jonelle’s 17th place on Mazetto was enough to earn her the trav­el­ling re­serve slot for Athens.

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