Badminton winner to take over the reins of Sir Mark Todd’s World Equestrian Games ride

Sir Mark Todd’s 2018 World Equestrian Games ride McClaren has been taken on by 2018 Badminton winner Jonelle Price.

The 16hh 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, by Clarimo, finished second with Mark at Saumur CCI3* (now CCI4*-L) in 2018 before heading to the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, where he helped the Kiwis secure their Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification.

“[Jonelle is] the perfect fit for McClaren in many ways – not only in stature either,” said Mark.

“It is very fitting that she will now have the ride as originally I tried to sell him to her, but pulled out of the deal when I decided to keep him for myself. I am looking forward to seeing this partnership develop as both are super talented and feisty.”

Mark, 63, officially retired from eventing in an emotional ceremony in the main arena at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials on Sunday (8 September).

He thanked the horse’s “incredibly supportive owners” David and Karie Thomson.

“We are sad to lose Toddy as ‘Mac’s’ master but we are also very grateful that he saw the potential in this little pocket rocket and invited Karie and me to be his owners,” said David. “Mac has been amazing.”

Mac, who was bred by Hotze Dirk, started his international career with Sir Mark in 2017 and went from BE100 to three-star (now four-star) in one season.

He was on the New Zealand team that won the CCIO3* (CCIO4*-L) FEI Nations Cup final Military Boekelo-Enschede in The Netherlands in 2017, where he finished seventh individually.

At the time, Mark described him as “truly phenomenal” and a “brilliant” horse for the future.

When Karie and David were told by Mark that he planned to hang up his eventing boots their hearts dropped.

“Of course we had a very emotional response, but the first question of business was then who would be his (McClaren’s) new trainer and rider who would continue to develop his potential to support our New Zealand team objectives for Tokyo and beyond?” said David, adding they discussed whether it would be best for the horse to go to an established rider or up-and-coming talent.

Jonelle became the obvious choice because Mac is still relatively fresh to four-star experience,” said David, adding he is very pleased that his groom, “the talented and delightful” Jess Wilson, will move to the Prices’ stable with him.

“Karie, Mark and I are delighted that Jonelle accepted our offer. We believe he will develop his true potential under Jonelle’s tutelage.”

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Jonelle said she has “always admired the horse”.

“Having seen him work and compete, as well as being on teams with Toddy, I am very excited about the future and the opportunity this presents,” she said.

“I am massively grateful to the owners for their major support of Team New Zealand both with McClaren and beyond.”

Equestrian Sport New Zealand high performance eventing manager Graeme Thom thanked David and Karie for their ongoing commitment to Jonelle and the wider team.

“It is fantastic news that McClaren will remain in the Kiwi camp,” he said.

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