Andrew Nicholson has been honoured as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to equestrian sport in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List announced today.
The 56-year-old Wiltshire-based eventer, often touted as one of the world’s greatest horsemen, achieved one of the biggest wins of his career in 2017 when he and Nereo won the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials. It was his 37th completion and his victory made him the oldest rider to win – nudging out Sir Mark Todd – and Nereo, at 17, became the oldest horse.
The Badminton win was all the more extraordinary because in 2015 Nicholson broke his neck at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe, an injury that could have been career-ending or worse.
However, in true Nicholson form, he was back riding and winning in no time.
Nicholson represented New Zealand at six Olympic Games, with his first in 1984 in Los Angeles, followed by 1992 in Barcelona where he was a member of the silver medal-winning team, 1996 in Atlanta where they won team bronze, 2004 in Athens, 2008 in Hong Kong and 2012 in London where they again won team bronze. His best individual placing at Olympic level was fourth with Nereo in London.
He has also ridden seven times at FEI World Equestrian Games for New Zealand, winning a team gold (1990), team bronze (2010) and an individual bronze (2010).
He has won at CCI4* level at Burghley – five times, Badminton, Kentucky, Pau and Luhmuhlen, and often on the podium. He was the first rider to win a hat-trick of Burghley titles when he and Avebury won the prestigious event in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
He is currently ranked number six in the world eventing rankings, but has previously been number one. Nicholson hails from Kihikihi in the Waikato but now lives in Marlborough with wife Wiggy and children Lily and Zach.
By Diana Dobson – HP Media Liaison
Photo by Libby Law/ESNZ