Rio re­lief for Brougham


A wave of re­lief swept Julie Brougham when she was told her Olympic dream was set to be a re­al­ity.

She found out one week ago, but was only able to re­veal the news to oth­ers on Mon­day night when Eques­trian New Zealand and the New Zealand Olympic Com­mit­tee made their of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment.

Palmer­ston North’s Brougham be­comes just the third Kiwi to com­pete in dres­sage at the Olympics, fol­low­ing Kal­lista Field (Syd­ney, 2000) and Louisa Hill (Athens, 2004 and Lon­don, 2012).

Brougham, who rides mount Vom Fe­in­sten, has de­voted the year to get­ting New Zealand’s sole dres­sage spot at Rio. That in­cluded gam­bling on herself and book­ing a trip to Ger­many as fi­nal prepa­ra­tion be­fore she had qual­i­fied.

She qual­i­fied at the Horse of the Year in March, her fi­nal event in New Zealand be­fore she trav­elled to Ger­many, break­ing an Aus­tralasian record in the process.

But by the time she linked up with Ger­man dres­sage leg­end Ton de Rid­der, who has been help­ing her train for the past four months, Hamil­ton’s John Thomp­son had also qual­i­fied.

That meant the duo were left to bat­tle it out, Brougham com­pet­ing in Europe and Thomp­son in Aus­tralia.

But Brougham was al­ways the heavy favourite.

Her re­sults in events in Ger­many, Slove­nia and Aus­tria high­lighted her po­si­tion as the fron­trun­ner.

Speak­ing from the eques­trian team an­nounce­ment in Eng­land, Brougham said she was pleased to be con­firmed in the team.

‘‘I am ex­cited, but also just re­ally re­lieved,’’ she said. ‘‘It has been a big mis­sion to bring Vom Fe­in­sten to Europe and com­pete over here when you haven’t got the sup­port net­work you have at home and haven’t even got a horse truck.

‘‘It is nice to know that the grand plan worked.’’

Brougham will ride 12-yearold geld­ing Vom Fe­in­sten, who she imported from Ger­many in 2009.

She said their re­sults over the last year prove that he is up to the task of com­pet­ing at the Olympics.

‘‘He has done well over here and he has shown that he is com­pet­i­tive and po­ten­tially can even do bet­ter,’’ she said.

‘‘He has shown that he trav­els very well. That is im­por­tant be­cause you don’t want to be tak­ing a horse to the Rio Olympics un­less they are sound in wind and limb.’’

Brougham was joined in Ger­many by her New Zealand­based coach An­drea Raves this week and hus­band David Brougham will join them next week.

She has one last event planned in Ger­many, the Aachen Chio in July, but then will fo­cus on keep­ing Vom Fe­in­sten fresh.

Brougham said her goal for the Olympics was to claim a per­sonal best.

‘‘I am very hope­ful that we will get Steny there at his peak of health and his peak per­for­mance,’’ she said.

Brougham and Vom Fe­in­sten head off to Rio through Liege in Bel­gium on Au­gust 2.

Her first event in Rio is on Au­gust 10.

Brougham was one of six rid­ers named in the New Zealand eques­trian team.

Mark Todd, Jock Paget, Jonelle Price and Clarke John­stone were in­cluded in the three­day event­ing team. Tim Price is the team’s trav­el­ling re­serve.

Todd, 60, will be­come New Zealand’s old­est Olympian. He is set to at­tend his eighth Olympics and has five Olympic medals to his name.

The old­est Kiwi Olympian was Wil­liam Edgar Swin­ner­ton, who was 56 when he com­peted in the sail­ing at the Mel­bourne Olympics in 1956, coin­ci­den­tally the year Todd was born.


Julie Brougham and Vom Fe­in­sten qual­i­fied for the Rio Olympics by break­ing an Aus­tralasian record at the Horse of the Year in March.

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