16-year-old WEG horse (finally) wins his first grand prix — next stop Olympic qualification

“He just gets better and better,” said New Zealand showjumper Samantha McIntosh after winning the CSI3* grand prix at the Spring Mediterranean Equestrian Tour (MET) Tour in Spain on Saturday (30 March) riding Check In 2.

The pair first teamed up four years ago but this is their first big win together; the German-bred stallion seems to have finally reached his prime — at the age of 16.

“He is the darling of the stable,” said his rider. “He can be a bit of a handful to ride sometimes, but we have a pretty good partnership by now and he helps me out when he can.”

Samantha and the son of Bockmann’s Cordalme Z took a three-second victory as last to go in a four-horse jump-off, with only two double clears produced over the 1.50m tracks set by Alan Wade.

“It was pretty technical,” said Samantha. “Today’s grand prix was a three-star at the end of the tour, so it was a step up from the other grand prix classes we have had here. I think Alan Wade did a really good job with the building, it was tough to ride and you had to be on the map. I aimed Check In towards this grand prix over these three weeks, and it went well.”

Samantha rode Check In 2 at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, USA, last year and the pair will head to the Nations Cup of La Baule next month. Now on a roll, might we see the pair in Tokyo 2020?

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“New Zealand has their Olympic qualification event in August, so that would be the next major event for Check In this year,” she said.

After a break this week, the Spring MET III concludes with its fourth and final part running from April 9-21 and you can read all about it in Horse & Hound. 

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.