"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.

 "He probably thinks he's getting ready for Burleigh, but he'll just be used at home and treated like the star he is."
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Fellow competitors erupted in spontaneous cheering as the brilliant New Zealand horseman Andrew Nicholson, 55, at last won the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, fourth leg of the FEI Classics™ after a record 37 attempts over 33 years.

‘Of course I knew I would win Badminton one day – I just didn’t know when!’ Andrew Nicholson

It was a jumping finale full of surprises as Nicholson, third after cross-country, pulled off a stunning clear round on the 17-year-old Nereo to leave the two German Olympians ahead of him – Michael Jung and overnight leader Ingrid Klimke – no room for manoeuvre.

Michael Jung (GER) & La Biosthetique Sam FBW     Photo Jon Stroud Media/FEI

Jung’s La Biosthetique Sam, also a veteran 17-year-old, hit the back rail of the sixth fence, so the defending champion had to settle for the runner-up spot, but he now leads the FEI Classics™ series leaderboard. Then, to gasps from the fascinated crowd, Ingrid Klimke and Horseware Hale Bob hit the same fence and Klimke’s problems were compounded with a refusal at the treble, which dropped her to ninth.

‘I’m a bit unhappy about the mistake and it was, for sure, my mistake, but Sam has been superb all weekend.’ Michael Jung

New Zealanders Tim Price (Xavier Faer) and Sir Mark Todd with both his horses, NZB Campino and Leonidas ll, capitalised on clear jumping rounds and moved up to third, fourth and sixth.

There was a new British name in fifth place, 31-year-old Rosalind Canter, who had a superb Badminton debut on Allstar B. Gemma Tattersall (GBR) was delighted to jump clear for sixth place on Arctic Soul and Kristina Cook was at her vintage best in 10th place on Billy the Red.

Completing the international flavour was Japanese rider Yoshiaki Oiwa, whose long-term aim of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will have been enhanced by eighth place on The Duke of Cavan.

A total of 46 completed the competition with 20 clear jumping rounds. There was disappointment for the British when Alexander Bragg’s Zagreb, eighth after a great cross-country, was withdrawn from the holding box at the final horse inspection.

Nicholson first rode at Badminton in 1984; he has since completed more times than any other rider, and has finished second, on Lord Killinghurst in 2004, and third, on Libby Sellar’s Spanish-bred chestnut gelding Nereo in 2013. He was in the lead on Nereo in 2015, but it all went wrong in the final phase.

His win is even more of a fairytale considering he broke his neck in a fall 18 months ago – the prospect of competing Avebury, his three-time Burghley winner, and Nereo was, he says, a strong motivation during his recovery.

‘I’ve been in all sorts of places at Badminton and not won, so it has been hard, but I am lucky that I’ve been able to keep the dream alive and keep coming back.’ Andrew Nicholson
Full  Results HERE
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Wednesday, 07 September 2016 10:43

The Great Eventer Avebury is put to Sleep

One of eventing's best-known horses, Andrew Nicholson's Avebury, has died just months after being retired.

Avebury had been receiving palliative care for a malignant tumour in his jaw, which was diagnosed only a few weeks ago. He was euthanised on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old, who won the Burghley CCI4* three times from 2012 to 2014, was retired from eventing in April. The tumour developed very rapidly, and as there was no appropriate treatment for this type of tumour and the difficult decision was made to put him to sleep.

Avebury was bred by Nicholson, whose children gave him his stable name, 'Buddy'.

Andrew and his wife, Wiggy said: “We were deeply shocked at the rapid progression of the cancer, as only a few weeks ago he was thoroughly enjoying being ridden by Lily in his retirement.

“Our only relief is that we were able to ensure he did not suffer, and were able to make the right decision in the interests of his welfare – which has always been our absolute priority.

“He has been part of our family for a very long time and has given Andrew some of the greatest days of his career. He will be deeply missed.

Cottesmore Leap Burghley 2011

In 2011 Andrew and Avebury were 10th at Badminton and eighth at Burghley, and in 2012 they scored the first of their multiple victories in the CIC3* at Barbury Castle and at Burghley.

...at Burghley in 2012 and Barbury in 2015.

Burghley Lake, 2014.

In 2015, the pair took their fourth Barbury Castle CIC3* win and were preparing for an attempt at a fourth consecutive Burghley triumph when Andrew suffered a fall at Gatcombe from another horse which broke his neck and finished his season.

Avebury’s only run in 2016 was at Great Witchingham in March, which he won. Since then, he has hacked out at home and in the summer holidays Andrew and Wiggy’s children, Lily and Zach, enjoyed riding him.

Barbury Owl Hole, 2014

He has been buried in the garden at his home at Westwood Stud.

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Friday, 15 April 2016 15:18

Great Grey Eventer, Avebury Retires


Isn't it great when we can enjoy tributes to a superstar horse as he retires from competition sound and well.

"... he just doesn't quite feel like he used to and, as he owes us nothing, we thought it better to stop now." said New Zealand eventer, Andrew Nicholson.

Avebury, the sixteen year old grey gelding AKA Buddy, was bred by Andrew and owned by Mark and Rosemary Barlow who say that he will continue to live at Westwood, the Nicholson's stud near Marlborough - a home he knows and loves.

“He has a cheeky side to him, but whenever you walk into the yard, he’s happy to see you,” said Andrew.

“He loves his work and is very bubbly about everything. He’s still naughty to catch in the field — he gallops around squealing, but as soon as it rains, or he thinks something might be happening without him, he runs up and down the fence line yelling to be brought in.”

What a character!

Though the famous owl hole at Barbury

Avebury accumulated a staggering 2,113 British Eventing points in his career. He won 27 times including at his last outing at Great Witchingham early this season. He achieved a hat trick of wins at Burghley in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and made his 'local' event at Barbury Castle his own, winning 4 consecutive CIC3* titles.

Here's wishing Buddy a long and happy retirement.




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William Fox-Pitt enjoyed a round of applause from spectators delighting in seeing him back in the competition saddle after his first showjumping round at Burnham Market International Horse Trials last weekend. The Open Intermediate class was his first event since being seriously injured in a cross country fall in France at the end of last season.

William and Parklane Hawk

It was a beautiful day and the conditions were perfect.

“It was great to be out again at my first event of the season. I decided to just ride two horses rather than four, to be sensible with the hope of being able to do them justice. Happily both went really well,” Fox-Pitt said.

He opted to ride his experienced horses, Cool Mountain and Parklane Hawk.

Cool Mountain

Parklane Hawk

“They are both old pros and literally carried me round – I only had to hold on,” he said. Always planning to take both horses steadily across country, he enjoyed two confident clear rounds. “It’s a great relief to finish in one piece and feeling good.”

Also returning to competition this season, at his second event since returning from a career-threatening neck injury was leading New Zealand eventer, Andrew Nicholson. He tasted victory at a lower-tier competition in Somerset two weeks ago, seven months after undergoing surgery to stabilise his spine following a fall during a three-start event in Gatcombe.

Andrew Nicholson and Swallow Springs

Great to see these two talented keen rivals back in the competition saddle!

See full results for the Burnham Market International Open Intermediate Section M HERE




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New Zealand eventer, Andrew Nicholson has been taking his recovery very seriously; taking it easy.

"I had no problem not riding because I appreciated the luck I'd been given to be able to walk around."

The Kiwi legend, who has a silver and two bronze Olympic medals to his name as well as three world championship medals, including one gold was lucky not to have been paralysed after sustaining a serious neck injury when falling at Gatcombe this summer.

In an interview with Irish eventer and commentator, Jonty Evans, Andrew reveals that after many falls in his career, he is very aware that this one was 'different'.  He has realised that the longer he can wait to get back in the saddle, the better the success of his recovery. He is healing well and on target to return to riding soon.

"The surgeon is very pleased with the work he's done and the way I've looked after his work.  It's just about being sensible now."

Such positive views from the medical specialists means that riding again should be a possibility if all is well after the next CT scan, due shortly. But the veteran rider sounded a note of caution over how seamless his return to the saddle could be.

"It's whether I've got the commitment to want to do it. At the moment I very much want to ride, but I fully understand I can hop on a horse and I may feel frightened, and [if that's the case] I wouldn't do it.

"I don't want to ride to make the numbers up. I don't want people to say I was only doing a good job considering he hurt his neck. I want to be doing a good job and winning.

"You never know until you try. I very much feel that's what I want to try. I think it's important to have something to aim at, and that's what I'm about to do."

Andrew Nicholson's commited determination to succeed in his recovery will only be a success, in his eyes, once he's back to his winning ways.

Take it easy, Andrew. Make the dream of a seventh Olympics, in Rio, a reality.



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New Zealand eventer Andrew Nicholson is in hospital having sustained a neck injury falling from his horse while competeing at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe in Gloucestershire.

He was unseated from his horse, Cinnabradden Evo as it tripped and fell having jumped the final fence of the cross country course. It was reported by an eye witness that both horse and rider appeared to recover immediately, but that Nicholson became unwell shortly afterwards.

There were 3 ambulances at the scene. The six-time Olympian was rushed to Swindon Hospital and was then transferred to The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

A family spokesman confirmed the injury, saying: "Andrew has a neck injury and is currently undergoing treatment at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford."

Trot On wishes Andrew Nicholson a speedy recovery.


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