Andrew Nicholson announces his retirement from top-level eventing

Aimi Clark

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

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As the editor of Your Horse Online, Aimi oversees all our digital content. She has worked in equestrian media for over 15 years and joined Your Horse as editor in 2017. Aimi has owned and ridden horses all her life. She grew up on a farm in Devon and was a Tetcott & South Tetcott Pony Club member, joining with her first pony — a New Forest called Prudence — before moving on to a Danish Warmblood called Marcus and competing in all activities, but particularly enjoying eventing. She has rehomed and retrained more than 10 ex-racehorses and dabbled in point-to-pointing. There have been plenty of bumps, setbacks and heartache along the way, as well as a lot of fun and many successes. Aimi has two young children and she still loves ex-racehorses. You can often find her hacking her Thoroughbred in the Oxfordshire countryside, flying the flag for Your Horse's #Hack1000Miles challenge.

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