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
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.