He may have missed out on Olympic selection for the first time in years, but Kiwi eventer Andrew Nicholson appears to be keeping a sense of humour about the whole issue.
A much-publicised spat with equestrian sport’s New Zealand governing body appeared to have put paid to Nicholson’s selection chances, despite his impressive comeback from serious injury late last year. Just a matter of months ago, it was touch and go whether or not Nicholson would ride again after sustaining major neck injuries at Gatcombe last August, in a fall that nearly left him paralysed. Earlier this month he made a winning return to three-day-eventing, scoring his third Bramham CCI3* win.
But now, Nicholson has created his own team of riders, and he did not have to look far for some quality contenders.
Nicholson, as the head selector, coach and No.1 rider of “Team Nicholson” made a selection announcement on Monday, hot on the heels of the New Zealand Olympic team announcement in Britain.
“There are strict criteria to fulfill to be considered ‘selectable’ for my team. Firstly you have to be a ‘Nicholson’, and then you have to have done all your homework and handed it in on time. Lily and Zach have ticked both those boxes and Lily’s performance jumping Avebury today, has secured her place in my team.”
“Following the announcement, Lily (aged 11) was smiling so much she was unable to comment.
“Zach (aged 7) has been named first reserve, also with Avebury.
“He commented: ‘My best bit was doing the ‘moonwalk’ with Buddy. Daddy calls it the reinback but it felt like the moonwalk to me’.
“Nicholson commented: ‘It’s clear that following a cut in the funding available to my team, my teammates will have to share the same horse, Avebury, to save money. Avebury asked me to let everyone know he is up for the challenge and that he never knew retirement could be so much fun’.”