"Without the horse, I'm nothing in my job,"
English based New Zealand eventer, Andrew Nicholson was named an Officer of the NZ Order of Merit on Monday.
Representing New Zealand for more than 30 years, Nicholson at 56, has fashioned a body of work that any of his peers would die for, including seven Olympics Games over 28 years, three Olympic medals and a 1990 team world championship title. He's a five-time winner at Burghley, one of the world's top equestrian events, and proved his enduring ability with a maiden victory at Badminton just last year.
"I'm very, very proud and very honoured. To be given that is quite something, isn't it? I'm very satisfied and I realise how lucky I am to have a job that most people spend a fortune on, just to call it their hobby."
Speaking in tribute to his horses, Nicholson said,
"I appreciate them, I respect them. They're far more intelligent than a lot of people give them credit for. Even a lot of horse people don't realise how intelligent they are, they're very trainable."
Avebury and Nereo.
"Nereo has always stood out for me," said Nicholson.
"Avebury was a pretty grey and always looked very happy with life, and he was a pleasure to work with."
"Nereo is a bit more raw and rangier, possibly not as handsome, but he always felt like he was giving you 110 percent.
"Whether I took him to the Olympics Games or world championships, Badminton or Burghley, he felt like he would just give you his mind and his body. To do that year after year is quite something."
Nereo was retired after last month's 2018 Badminton event, but can still be found giving loyal service, now to Nicholson's teeange daughter.
"He looks as happy as can be and she's just beaming," said Nicholson. "It's great to see.