“It’s been worth the wait”: Andrew Nicholson wins Badminton Horse Trials 2017
Only 18 months after suffering a life threatening fall, and 33 years after his first attempt at the title, Kiwi Andrew Nicholson fulfilled a career goal to win the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials.
Going into the showjumping in third position, Andrew kept his cool and pulled off the round of his life riding Deborah Sellar’s 17-year-old gelding Nereo. With just 1.0 time penalty to add, Andrew finished on 41.4.
“Nereo is a truly amazing horse. The amount of big events he’s done year after year is unbelievable,” said Andrew. “I always thought I would win Badminton, and I’ve just had to keep on coming here and taking my turn. It’s been worth the wait. I’ve won big events before but this just feels so different.”
With two very classy German riders left to jump after Andrew – Michael Jung in second position and Ingrid Kilmke in first – the results board looked set to remain, so it was a huge shock when Michael’s Olympic and European gold medal-winning La Biosthetique-Sam FBW hit a rail to drop a place. Ingrid Klimke then had a round to forget, with rails down, a refusal and time penalties, plummeting Horseware Hale Bob OLD down to 9th place.
Michael admitted to feeling disappointed but did point out that the error was his, not Sam’s. “It’s been a great week. Sam feels so strong and happy that even though he is now 17 years old, right now I think he has more competitions in him.”
This moved fellow New Zealanders Tim Price into third with Xavier Faer, and Mark Todd and NZB Campino into fourth.
“I was expecting him to jump well if I could just manage him,” said Tim. “It’s all about making sure nothing happens that he’ll have an adverse reaction to. He’s proved a lot to me and a lot to all of us. He’s going to be a cool horse and we’re looking forward to his future.”
Rosalind Canter pulled off a superb double clear to finish fifth and best of the Brits riding Allstar B. “It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done,” said Ros. “The horse is a good jumper which sometimes puts even more pressure on because he deserves to jump a clear round, so it was up to me to put him in the right place, and it’s a relief that it came off.”
“Such an exciting finish to the competition,” said Lance Bradley, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK. “Andrew Nicholson has completed Badminton a record-breaking 37 times, but the title had always eluded him. To come back from serious injury and finish at the top of the table here this year is the stuff of fairytales.
“Mitsubishi Motors is extremely proud to sponsor the Badminton Horse Trials for what is a truly inspirational sport in a very special venue. Thank you to everyone involved, we’re already looking forward to 2018.”
For the full results, click here
To see who won the additional prizes, click here