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Nicole Simpson

Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

Number of years riding: 32 Years

Career accomplishments to date:

Seven-time World Cup Finals Competitor

2002 World Equestrian Games Team Member

2008 Short list for Olympics

2008 2nd Olympics Trials

2010 Winner of the World Equestrian Game Trials in Florida

2010 Nations Cup Winning Team in Rotterdam

How you got started in your event: I grew up on a farm in New Jersey. My mom was into show horses and so was my dad. So I was pretty much raised doing it.

Length of time you’ve been sponsored by Ariat: One year

Favorite Ariat product (by name): Olympia Breeches

Proudest career moment: 2002 WEG Team

Tell us about your first horse: I had a little pony called Bay Berry. He was my first pony, the one I learned to ride on.

You ride because: It’s in my blood and it’s a natural thing. I cannot picture my life without horses in it. Also, it’s the challenge of being with an animal’s everyday ups and downs – plus the competitive aspect.

If you weren’t a professional rider, you would be a: I don’t know anything other than the horses. It’s just like breathing.

Favorite mentor or idol growing up: I grew up at Overpack in New Jersey. Our barn was there. When you start show jumping, you start on foot and a few of my friends and I would compete by foot-jumping the jumps. We would compete against each other saying that we were Katie Monihan, Leslie Bur, and Melanie Smith, because they were the top riders at the time. I would always say I was Leslie Bur. When I was a Junior I was able to meet and ride with Leslie.

Favorite place to travel: Home

Name one fun fact that people don’t know about you: I love to cook! And many people think I am very unapproachable, but really I am a very nice person.

Favorite way to unwind outside of the barn: I really enjoy ceramic painting.

Good luck charm: Just having my kids being supportive of what I do. It is very special to me. They are there – good bad or indifferent – and they are always behind you.