British-based New Zealander Andrew Nicholson (57) first completed Badminton 35-years ago in 1984. He has since completed the event a record 37 times and in 2017 claimed what had seemed an elusive win. With this year’s entry Swallow Springs he was third at Burghley 2018 – the horse’s first four-star event.
A six-time Olympian Andrew is based near Marlborough in Wiltshire and has lived in the UK for over thirty years. Considered the most prolific event rider ever, London 2012 was his sixth Olympic appearance (and seventh Olympic selection) where he won team bronze and finished in individual fourth place. In 1992 (Barcelona) he won Olympic team silver and in 1996 (Atlanta) team bronze. He won team gold at the 1990 WEG and in 2010 was a member of the NZ team that won bronze at the WEG in Lexington where he also won his first individual medal – bronze with Nereo. In 2014 with Nereo he was a member of the NZ team at the WEG and finished in 9th place.
He has won Burghley five times, 1995, 2000 and 2012.’13 &’14 (Avebury) and holds the record for the most Badminton completions (37). In 2013 he won the Lexington four-star (Quimbo), the Luhmuhlen four-star (Mr Cruise Control) and was first, second and seventh at Burghley with Avebury, Nereo and Calico Jo respectively. That year he was the winner of the HSBC Classics series and was British number one for a record 16th time.
In 2014 Andrew Nicholson re-wrote the Burghley history books when he won Burghley for the third successive year and on the same horse – Avebury, who is also the only horse to ever win back-to-back Burghley. In 2015 the combination also added a hat-trick of wins at Barbury Castle to their CV. A month later in August (2015), whilst competing at Gatcombe, Andrew suffered a fall at the final fence after which he was found to have sustained a serious neck injury. He spent eight hours in surgery but recuperated and recovered well; he was back in the saddle in December and began competing again in April 2016 and in June won the CCI3* at Bramham (Jet Set) and in August claimed his fourth consecutive CIC3* victory at Barbury Castle (Nereo) and in September was second at Burghley (Nereo) and at the end of the season was number two in the BE rider ranking.
The third of six children Andrew was brought up on a dairy farm in Kihikihi, North Island. After school Andrew joined his brother who was retraining racehorses and rode for local racehorse trainers. He came to England in 1980 aged 19 and his first job was grooming for Mark Todd and Southern Comfort at Badminton (who then won). Within four-years Andrew had two Badminton horses and was selected for the NZ team at the 1984 Olympic Games.
Andrew is married to Wiggy (nee Channer) and the couple has two children Zach and Lily. He also has two older children from his former marriage.
Swallow Springs, owned by Paul & Diana Ridgeon, is a 12-year-old Irish Sport Horse grey gelding. Bred by Maria Keating his is by Chill Out (sire of Bonza King of Rouge) of a mare by the thoroughbred Cult Hero (sire of several four-star horses including The Deputy and Bay My Hero). He was acquired from Donal Barnwell as a five-year-old. Andrew formerly competed the full brother – Ghost Story – to intermediate level. Swallow Springs was third at Burghley in 2018 – the horses first four-star.
16.3hh , chestnut , gelding
Dam Berganza (Golfi)
Breeder Mr Ramon Beca
Owner(s): Deborah Sellar, London
16.2hh , bay , mare
Dam Kurda 66 (Helio)
Breeder Ana Beca
Mark & Rosemary Barlow, Aylesbury, Bucks.