Nina Ligon: ‘The Plan for My Horses’

Nina Ligon and London Olympic mount Butts Leon. Photo by Samantha.

When newly-minted Olympian Nina Ligon matriculates at Stanford University this fall, her horses will also begin anew.  Thanks for updating us, Nina, and thanks, Eventing Nation, for reading.

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From Nina:

Finally! Back home… and time to start packing again. Stanford starts in a week and though I can’t wait to get out to California, I’m sad to leave Eventing behind. It has been an exciting, fun, and at times stressful journey. I’m glad I took the time away from school to focus solely on my horses and to qualify for and compete at the Olympics. The two years were necessary for me to compete safely and successfully at the 3* level, but I’ve postponed academics and Stanford long enough. I can’t study at a demanding University and compete safely at the 3/4 star level at the same time…they are both full time jobs. The horses deserve my undivided attention and I simply won’t be able to give them that.

Leon, Sparky, Jazz, and Paddy have taught, and most importantly, looked after me as I learned to compete at the 3*. They have done right by me, and it was my priority after the Games to find them each the best home possible. Each of my horses is unique, and between Laura, Amy, my mom, and myself, we tried to find them a home where their talents and big personalities could be fully appreciated.

Jazz King is going to Rebekah Calder in the US, who trains with Bobby Costello. She is a mother of two, who dreams of competing at Rolex. Jazz is an incredible, safe jumping horse, who gave me the xc confidence to reach my Olympic dream and I’m more than positive that he will do the same for Rebekah.

Tipperary Liadhnan has returned to the States to be ridden by Louis Rogers up to Preliminary. Louis is a newcomer to eventing and Paddy will be a fantastic xc school master to safely show him the way.

Butts Leon has returned to his home in Germany and his former owner Andreas Dibowski. Leon will continue to compete with Andreas and later become a schoolmaster for his daughter Alina. I believe this is the perfect situation for Leon, as he is returning to the family that raised him and I can be certain he has a loving home for the rest of his life.

Fernhill Fearless is now with Nat Varcoe-Cox (Will Faudree’s groom) in Southern Pines. Nat has loved Sparky since she took care of him at Jersey Fresh in 2010 and will look after him while I’m at college. Sparky was injured earlier this year, but is completely sound and was back competing in July as my potential backup for the Games. With me away at college, he can have the extra time off that he deserves to ensure a complete and lasting recovery. I’ve never met a horse that loves xc as much as Sparky. He has 4 star potential written all over him and is still young enough.

These incredible horses have so much to offer and I see no sense in having them sit around in a field waiting for me to finish my studies. I know they will go on to help each of their new owners reach their goals, just as they helped me reach mine.

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