NZer riding for Olympic success   23 Oct 2009

Juliette Simm

Click for a larger image
OLYMPICS - New Zealander Joe Meyer wants a medal. The equestrian event rider is doing everything in his power to get one at the 2012 London Olympics.

The self-confessed 'horse fanatic' is basing his London 2012 campaign out of Surrey, where he runs Mamaku Sport Horses UK. This business mirrors his family’s famous stud of the same name in the Wairarapa, known for breeding some of the most successful sport horses in New Zealand equestrian history. Their most famous progeny being a little horse called “Charisma” who went on to win two Olympic gold medals with the now legendary horseman Mark Todd.

But Joe Meyer has his eyes firmly set on the prize - a medal. Placing 5th overall in the Beijing Olympics, Meyer says "I went to the Beijing Olympics with high hopes, and although I attained personal best in the dressage phase (Meyer was the leading kiwi rider at this stage) our overall performance was not good enough for a medal. I have learnt a lot from that experience and now I feel ready to go and get a medal in 2012". As though it's that easy.

'Easy', however, is one word Joe Meyer doesn't use when describing his passion. Competing this week in France on 10-year-old Clifton Lush (owned by Frances Stead and Lucy Allison) his training schedule is busy to say the least. Meyer says that, to be assured of place on the next Olympic team, he will be aiming to have 4 to 6 horses at various stages of their career performing at their peak during the build up to the Olympics. A horse cannot begin to compete at top international level until they are at least 8 years old, but may go on competing until about 18-20, fitness permitting.To get these horses to that level means years of training and weeks of gruelling competition to qualify.

"Having only one horse is like putting all your eggs in one basket. Even with a quality string of high performance horses, choosing the one that's ready to do well and not just “take-part” is often a straight forward decision on the day. Small injuries occur frequently in this sport, and things can change so fast," says Meyer, “missing just a week of training, or a crucial build-up competition can be make or break for that particular horse”.

Horses have a reputation for being one of the more costly sporting pursuits. Having arrived in the UK with wife Deborah, 2 suitcases and 1 horse in 1997, Joe Meyer knows first hand how expensive they can be. Building up a team of 5 or 6 horses, the costs quickly add up with, travelling, entry fees, tack, feed, and the list goes on. "Our sponsors have been really generous, but of course there is less money floating around the economy at the moment which is making things hard," says Meyer. Also, being a Kiwi rider based in Britain means that local UK businesses are less willing to support him in favour of their countrymen. For the upcoming campaign Joe Meyer is hoping to raise a total sum in the region of £300,000 over the 3 year period to London 2012. In the immediate short-term however, he is hoping to secure up to £50,000 to buy a new horse he has identified with potential to boost his existing team.

"We're looking for someone who wants to get involved in this incredible sport from the stable door. It's an exciting scene, watching the competitions, brushing shoulders with sporting legends and celebrities at events like Badminton and Burghley, and working our way up through the grades. It's a hell of a lot of fun," he says.

Mr Meyer says it could be a great way for retired athletes to get back into international competition, or a patriotic New Zealander to get behind an Olympic campaign. "It's an addictive sport," he says, " and I'm sure people who've experienced it before will jump at the chance to get involved again."

After what is almost a lifetime of training, and almost 14 years living in London, it must be asked why Joe doesn't solve his financial woes by joining the better funded British team. England has been home for a long time, and most of Meyer's students and peers are from the mother-land, but as he explains "I'll always be a kiwi".

Joe says "I've got this far with New Zealand, and I truly believe that with just a bit more support we'd get a lot more medals. New Zealanders are always near the top of the table, even with a tiny budget in comparison to our rivals. But it's the kiwi way isn't it, you don't necessarily need all the toys and gadgets, just get on and do the job. Of course stronger backing would be nice, but we're fighting the exchange rate, our dollar, and of course it's a lot further to travel for those riders and horses."

Raising funding for a new horse or two, competing successfully before the Olympics and then being awarded with a medal is a dream outcome for the Meyer family. Maybe then says Joe, he'd be able to keep a promise made to his wife Deborah before the Beijing campaign. "I told her after Beijing we'd sell some horses, and put some money back into our wallets. But I just wasn't ready to stop, maybe after London 2012, I'll be able to come through on my word".

 *If you'd like to be a part of Joe Meyer's London 2012 Olympic campaign please contact

Joe & Deborah Meyer
Mamaku Sport Horses UK
Churchill Stud
West Park Rd, Newchapel,
Lingfield? Surrey RH7 6HT
hm: +44 (0)1342 837 127
mb: +44 (0)7770 588 321

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share


Finalists announced for the Air New Zealand UK New Zealander of the Year Award 2019

6 Dec 2018 Press Releases
Finalists for the prestigious UK New Zealander of the Year Award 2019, presented by the New Zealand Society of the United... more

New Zealand increases climate finance commitment to Pacific

25 Sep 2018 Environment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 New Zealand increases climate finance commitment to Pacific New Zealand will increase its global climate finance... more


Multinationals to pay fair share of tax

26 Jun 2018 Business News
26 JUNE 2018 HON STUART NASH New measures to ensure multinational companies pay their fair share of tax will come into force next... more

NZ Government launches Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures

22 Aug 2018 Business News By Hon Damien O'Connor
21 AUGUST 2018 Growing New Zealand's food and fibre sectors sustainably and supporting a thriving economy are the hallmarks of a new... more


New Zealand wine celebrates bicentenary with record sales

6 Dec 2018 Food & Wine
In 2019, New Zealand will be celebrating 200 years since the first vine was planted on its shores.  From 100 grapevines... more

REVIEW: Emma Timpany's "Travelling in the Dark"

1 Dec 2018 Review By Charlotte Everett
Emma Timpany’s Travelling in the Dark weaves a tale of homecoming that will resonate with many, and particularly with those who... more


More certainty in construction sector smooths boom and bust cycle

22 Aug 2018 Property
30 JULY 2018More certainty in construction sector smooths boom and bust cycle HON JENNY SALESA The 2018 National Construction Pipeline... more

NZ Property: Foreign buyers ban passes third reading

15 Aug 2018 Property
15 AUGUST 2018 HON DAVID PARKER The Bill to put in place the Government's policy of banning overseas buyers of existing homes has... more


Christchurch reinstated as refugee settlement location

18 Aug 2018 Migration
18 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY The announcement that Christchurch can once again be a settlement location for refugees... more

Post-study work rights emphasise skills NZ needs

8 Aug 2018 Migration
8 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY Changes to post-study work rights will help ensure international students coming to New Zealand... more


Arrival card change to smooth border process for international travellers to NZ

26 Sep 2018 Travel & Tourism By Hon Kris Faafoi
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 International travellers arriving into New Zealand should have a simpler, faster entry as a result of changes to... more

NZ Government to fully fund Auckand's SkyPath as part of $390m investment in walking and cycling

25 Aug 2018 Travel & Tourism
23 AUGUST 2018 HON PHIL TWYFORD HON JAMES SHAW Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Acting Associate Transport Minister James Shaw have... more


America’s Cup court ruling vindicates process

26 Sep 2018 Sailing By Hon David Parker
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 The Environment Court has today granted the resource consent for the 36th America's Cup bases in Auckland and the... more

Humble Stephen Kearney praises Warriors staff ahead of finals appearance: 'It's not down to one person'

3 Sep 2018 Rugby League
Warriors coach Stephen Kearney paid tribute to the club's unsung heroes ahead of their first taste of NRL finals football since... more


Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf The ghastly likes of Marine Le Pen in France and Geert ... more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome Well um.. on the bright side, there (probably)... more

Kiwi Success

Congratulations to Loder Cup winner

26 Sep 2018 People By Hon Eugenie Sage
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 The Loder Cup, one of New Zealand’s oldest conservation awards, has been awarded to Robert McGowan for 2018... more

Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO

16 Aug 2018 Appointments
16 AUGUST 2018Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO HON JENNY SALESA Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa is... more


Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

14 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

22 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more