British-based New Zealander Andrew Nicholson (55) last competed at Badminton in 2015 (6th Nereo). Due to recuperation from serious injury Andrew missed Badminton last year – a rare occurrence. He recovered well; in September, with Badminton entry Nereo, he was second at Burghley and at the end of the season was number two in the BE rider ranking. He is currently number four in the FEI world rider ranking.
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 while he holds the record for the most Badminton completions (35) he has yet to win. 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 and was lucky not to have been paralysed. He spent eight hours in surgery. 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).
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.
Nereo, owned by Deborah Sellar, is a 17-year-old Spanish-bred gelding. He was bred by former rider Ramon Beca and is by the thoroughbred Fines out of Berganza by the Hanoverian Golfi. Nereo is a full brother to Oliver Townends ride Armada (and a full brother to Andrew’s former rides Fenicio, Homero and Oplitas). He was acquired as a four-year-old. He is the winner of the 2012 Pau CCI4* has been 3rd at Badminton (2013) and 2nd at Burghley (2011 & 2016), was 4th individually London Olympics 2012. Nereo has over 2700 BE points.
Qwanza, owned by Mark & Rosemary Barlow and rider, is a 14-year-old Spanish-bred, CDE registered mare. Bred by Ana Beca she is by the Holstein Lacros out of Kurda by Helio. Lacros is also the sire of Andrews four-star ride Quimbo, while Kurda is also the dam of Andrews three-star ride Teseo (by Nicole) and two-star ride Urma BK (by Indoctro). She was acquired from the breeder and has been produced by Andrew. She completed her first four-star in Lexington 2012 (7th) and has since twice completed Luhmuhlen four-star – 2017 is her first Badminton.
16.2hh , grey , gelding
Dam Bairn Free (Bairn )
Breeder Andrew Nicholson
Mark & Rosemary Barlow, Aylesbury, Bucks.
16.3hh , chestnut , gelding
Dam Berganza (Golfi )
Breeder Ramon Beca
Owner(s): Deborah Sellar, London
16.2hh , bay , mare
Dam Kurda 66 (Helio )
Breeder Ana Beca
Mark & Rosemary Barlow, Aylesbury, Bucks.