‘She’s incredibly determined and I have so much admiration for her’ – meet the 19-year-old mare heading back to Badminton

  • New Zealand’s Jonelle Price has just one ride at Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian this year, but it’s a good one – the 2018 winner, Classic Moet.

    The mare, owned by Trisha and Sophie Rickards, is now 19 years old but in an interview on episode 98 of the Horse & Hound Podcast, Jonelle says she “looks fantastic”.

    “I’ve never had a senior horse like this before, so it is sort of unprecedented times for us, but I think the most important thing is you just take each day as it comes,” says Jonelle.

    “Certainly she looks a million dollars and I can honestly say she feels no different than she has for the last few years. So I’m excited to have her in contention and on track and we’ve done the bulk of the work. So I’m just looking forward to getting through these last couple of weeks and hopefully we’ll be there come trot-up.”

    Classic Moet was placed in an advanced at Thoresby last month, but Jonelle says she isn’t really a one-day horse.

    “The dressage is obviously a downside and she needs a little bit of time to settle into the environment. She needs quite a lot of work,” she says. “I don’t try really hard at the one-days. We use those as a stepping stone to get to the bigger picture, so I’m hoping with a bit more work during the week of Badminton, we can have her a little bit more on side for the all-important dressage.”

    Jonelle started riding Classic Moet – known as Molly – as a 10-year-old, but certainly didn’t think initially that she’d be a five-star winner.

    “I’m sure her owner Trisha Rickards won’t mind me saying that she wasn’t particularly nice, to be honest,” says Jonelle. “I rode another mare for Trisha, the grey Faerie Dianimo, and then she said, ‘Do you want Molly as well?’ and I jumped at the opportunity but upon getting her, she sort of felt all over the show.

    “She was an unusual-looking thing and I was a little bit almost embarrassed at the start. I used to hide down the back of the warm-up, but she definitely always had something about getting the job done. She’s incredibly determined. And as time went on, she just grew into more horse than I ever thought she could have been.

    “I know that I will look back – at some point when she has retired, when that day comes – and my fondest memories will be of numerous cross-country rounds, of tearing around the biggest tracks in the world and making really light work of it, so I owe her a huge amount. And I have so much admiration for her.”

    As well as her Badminton win, Molly’s five-star record includes fourth at the 2014 World Equestrian Games, 10th at Badminton 2016, third and fifth at Burghley Horse Trials in 2016 and 2015 and seventh at Kentucky Three-Day Event and eighth at Maryland 5 Star last year.

    Hear more about Classic Moet’s Badminton win, plus hear Jonelle talk about taking over the ride on McClaren from Mark Todd by tuning in to episode 98 of The Horse & Hound Podcast here, or search “The Horse & Hound Podcast” in your favourite podcast app.

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