British team stalwart and the current European Champion returns to Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian
Nicola Wilson, who suffered a life-changing fall here at Badminton last year, returned to share her knowledge via commentary for both Badminton TV and Badminton Radio.
“It’s lovely, so exciting to be back, albeit on a different side of the fence this time – it’s great to be involved,’ said Nicola, who won the European title in 2021 on JL Dublin. “I’m doing some commentary work and also working for the British Eventing Support Trust which was so helpful after my accident.
“When everything is taken away from you, with your mobility, ability to feel anything, move anything, suddenly your priorities change. Your perspective on life is different. Working with horses you learn to be resilient, and my life is very, very different now. I’m just delighted to have a little bit more independence and mobility back, and have a good quality of life; I am hugely grateful for that and getting stronger all the time.
“I don’t have any choice but to be positive and push on, and that has been made easier with the support of Alastair, my fabulous husband, and my amazing family. I very much concentrate on what I can do, not what I can’t, although it is sometimes frustrating. I’ll just keep working and see where I get to. Life is for living, in whatever capacity that is.”
Last weekend Tom McEwen rode JL Dublin (Dubs) at the Kentucky 5* in the US. The pair finished runners up, and Nicola was her usual generous self: “It was so exciting watching Tom and Dubs in Kentucky – what an amazing job he’s done. I sat down on the sofa to watch, armed with a gin and tonic, and felt nervous, excited, and with a small amount of envy that it wasn’t me, but it was lovely to watch. The partnership that they have developed already is really exciting going forwards.”
She continued: “The support I have had from the British Eventing Support Trust and World Class Programme has been fantastic. To then support and watch the horses being ridden by other top riders, all doing an amazing job, it’s lovely to see them continuing to do well and moving on to their next stage. It’s nice to still be a small part of their journey. The riders are lovely about keeping me up to date, which is very kind and generous of them.
“Looking ahead, I’ve always enjoyed coaching – I’ve been lucky to be trained by some fabulous people and if I can now help other people achieve their dreams as I have achieved mine, I would get enormous satisfaction. We’ve got the facilities at home, and know they work. We have a lovely American girl based with us this season and it would be wonderful to have more riders with us for training and support from me. It’s something I’d really like to develop. It’s the next chapter and the next dream.”