It wasn’t, perhaps, entirely unexpected that Andrew Nicholson announced his retirement from upper-level competition yesterday at Blenheim — after all, his longtime friend Oliver Townend has recently taken over the ride on the exceptional Swallow Springs, who Andrew has ridden to top-five finishes at Badminton and Burghley, suggesting that some major change might be in the works. But the hint of what was to come certainly didn’t make his announcement any less poignant, and his fellow competitors, owners, and fans of the sport alike have been sharing their favourite memories of Mr Stickability’s extraordinary competitive career. I was particularly touched by this post by Mollie Summerland, partly because of the beautiful photo that Kiwi ‘tog Libby Law captured just after Mollie’s win at Luhmühlen, and partly because of the sentiment attached: though most might consider Andrew a bit outwardly terrifying, he’s always actually been an incredibly generous, kind person, and so many people have benefited from his sage advice and guidance. On the few occasions I’ve needed his help with anything, he’s been gracious and wonderful, and I’ll truly miss the vague frisson of fear and anticipation that comes before interviewing him. You know you’ve done a good job and managed not to ask any stupid questions if he gives you a ‘well done’ at the end; if not, you’d be dwelling on it for the rest of the day. (Kudos to him, particularly, for recognising that I was outrageously hungover at Blenheim a couple of years ago and could barely speak English anymore. I eventually managed to ask something that resembled a question — though certainly not a clever one — and he still gave me a ‘well done’, though he didn’t even try to hide his smirk as he did so. What a champ.)
(Oh, and you want some context for that photo? Back in 2019, Andrew advised Mollie to sell Charly van ter Heiden after she received an offer for a truly eye-watering amount of money and rang him for guidance. She — now famously — didn’t do so, and after she took her first five-star victory aboard the horse earlier this summer, Andrew scooped her up for a congratulatory hug and told her, “now you can sell him for twice as much!”)
National Holiday: It’s the first day of Pitru Pashka, during with Hindus pray and perform rituals to allow their ancestors to transition from Pitru Lok — the ‘in between’ space between earth and heaven, to heaven itself, known as Brahmaloka.
North American Weekend Action:
Alhambra Fall Event (Alberta, Canada): [Results]
Stone Gate Farm H.T. (Hanoverton, Oh.): [Results]
UK Weekend Action:
Allerton Park: [Results]
Moreton Morrell (2): [Results]
Wee Burgie: [Results]
Major International Events:
Your Monday Reading List:
Eventing legend Mary King continues to show an enviable amount of get-up-and-go — she’ll be running the London Marathon next month. Her beneficiary of choice is the Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, and she says she’s been building up her fitness using the same kind of interval training she’d use for her horses. Meanwhile, I’ve just eaten three soft pretzels for breakfast and took the lift instead of the stairs. [Eventing legend Mary King to take on the London Marathon aged 60]
Speaking of British riders doing cool things, the Team GB entrants for Le Lion d’Angers were announced the other day. Three six-year-olds and twelve seven-year-olds will make the trip to France next month to contest the World Championships, including Oliver Townend’s Cooley Rosalent, who was the Six-Year-Old Reserve World Champion in 2020. [GB Combinations Selected For Young Horse World Championship]
Meanwhile, back at Aachen, the US jumping team avoided a repeat of the Olympic finale by roundly beating Sweden in the Nations Cup. There are few things more exciting than this prestigious class, which takes place under the lights in the enormous main stadium, and seeing our pique-coated brethren doing so well this week in there has been particularly cool. [US Turns Tables on Sweden to Win Aachen Nations Cup]
The FutureTrack Follow:
They took the CCI4*-S for eight- and nine-year-olds last year, when it was temporarily relocated to Burnham Market, and over the weekend, 24-year-old Yasmin Ingham and her Paris hopeful Banzai du Loir clinched the CCI4*-L at Blenheim. Give her a follow to see life behind the scenes with one of the sport’s brightest young talents, who also happens to be one of the most genuinely lovely people I’ve met in this industry.
This is the most deranged thing I’ve ever seen. You’re welcome.