Andrew Nicholson announced his retirement from top-level eventing at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials yesterday (19 September).
The six-time Olympian said he will no longer compete in four- and five-star competitions, instead focusing on producing horses to two- and three-star level.
“I’m stepping back from these five-stars and four-star big events like this one [Blenheim],” he said. “I’m still riding and competing. I’m not planning to retire completely and will still have novice horses with the idea of getting them to two- and three-star and selling them.
“But I have a lot of respect for the courses at the likes of Badminton and Burghley and you’ve got to be fully up to speed, and I don’t feel quite like I used to, to be honest,” continued Andrew, who suffered a serious neck injury while competing in the British Open at the Festival of British Eventing in 2015 when his horse fell at the final cross-country fence.
“I’ve been very lucky. I have ridden some amazing horses and competed with them all over the world. I will still be at Badminton and Burghley, I just might not be leaving the start box.”
The 60-year-old New Zealander arrived in the UK some 40 years ago. He has won world team gold and Olympic silver and bronze medals, plus an individual bronze medal at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, and has held the world number one spot.
He is renowned for his ability to give horses confidence across country and has won five of the world’s six CCI5*s, including Burghley a record three times consecutively on Avebury and five times in total.
He won Badminton in 2017 on 17-year-old Nereo, a horse Andrew had broken in as a three-year-old, after he returned to the sport after recovering from his neck injury.
Andrew will continue to produce horses from his base in Marlborough, Wiltshire, and will continue to be involved in the coaching of the Swiss eventing team, including at this week’s European Championships.
Main image: Simon Claisse presenting Andrew Nicholson with a bottle of champagne at the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials 2021 prize-giving. Image supplied by The Jockey Club