Eventing superstar Andrew Nicholson hangs up his boots

Andrew Nicholson (NZL) on Nereo. Image credit Mike Bain

Eventing superstar Andrew Nicholson hangs up his boots

Eventing superstar Andrew Nicholson (60) this week announced his retirement from top competition in favour of producing younger horses for 2* and 3* level, and sale.

The notice of retirement came after he competed at Blenheim Palace International Horse trails last weekend. His outstanding commitment to equestrian sport has been second to none, as is his renowned ability to give horses confidence on the cross country course.

Famed for his talent and ability on many a horse, across many an event, Nicholson will no doubt be missed by not only his fellow competitors but thousands of adoring fans.

Badminton Horse Trials Andrew Nicholson NZL on Calico Joe image credit Mike Bain
Badminton Horse Trials Andrew Nicholson NZL on Calico Joe image credit Mike Bain

In 2015 Nicholson fell from Cillnabradden Evo at the final cross country fence during the Festival of British Eventing (Gatcombe), which saw him taking the remaining of the season off to recover. After being taken to a hospital in Swindon, he was later transferred to John Radcliffe Hospital (Oxford) were he underwent surgery on his neck. After being discharged from hospital, Nicholson was sent home to recover at his home in Wiltshire. In the days that followed it was reported that the NZ rider was very lucky to have not been paralysed as a result from the fall.

Accomplishments

Perhaps to many accomplishments to mention, the six time olympian has been in the spotlight of equestrian sport for over four decades. He moved to Great Britain, where he has been positioned since, in the 1980’s and began to forge a name for himself.

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His 5* campaign victories came predominately from Lincolnshire based Burghley Horse Trials. The event proved a favourite when taking wins into account as he rode away with a total of five successes on three separate horses, Buckley Province (1995), Mr Smithy (2000) and Avebury (2012, 2013 and 2014 a record breaking consecutive win).

Andrew Nicholson and Nereo. Image credit Mike Bain
Andrew Nicholson and Nereo celebrating their win at Badminton Horse Trials in 2017. Image credit Mike Bain

He may not as been successful at Badminton Horse Trials, but his efforts were not in vein as he and Nero finished in first place at the 2017 event, after campaigning the horse for several years. Not only was it his first win at the 5* Gloucestershire based event, it was even more celebrated due to returning from his fall only the year before.

The Olympic Game crusade began in Los Angeles, 1984, when Nicholson and Kahula helped the team into sixth place. In 1992, during the Barcelona Games, he formed part of the silver medalist team, while Atlanta in 1996 and London in 2012 the team respectively rode home with bronze. Sydney 2000 he was invited to compete but was unable to fulfil due to horse injury, Beijing, 2008 didn’t quite go so well either as he was eliminated during the cross country course. In the 2004 Athens Olympics the team finished in fifth.

Intertwined between the Olympic Games comes the FEI World Equestrian Games (WEG), where Nicholson has competed since launch in 1990. The first year welcomed a gold medal for Team NZL with fellow teammate and retiree Mark Todd, and Blyth Tait. He also celebrated Nicholson fourth place individually. The 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 also all seen him compete in either the individual or team sections.

We wish Nicholson well with his new endeavour, and look forward to seeing where it takes him.

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