Nicola Wilson (GBR)
Discipline - Eventing
Hometown – Northallerton, Yorkshire
Number of years riding - I was placed in the saddle in front of Mum when I was 18months old and I haven’t really stopped since then!
Main career accomplishments to date:
- Part of Team GBR at 2014 Alltech World Equestrian Games - 25th Individually
- Team Silver at London 2012 Olympic Games
- Team Bronze at 2012 European Championships
- Team Gold at World Equestrian Games 2010
- Team Gold at 2009 European Championships
- Numerous top 10 placings at CCI**** level
Tell us about your first horse/pony
My first pony was called Tom. He was a lead rein pony that we got on loan when I was 3 years old. I wasn't on the lead rein for long before I wanted to go alone! I won my first cup aged 7 years on a pony called Rascal whom I got when he was 4 and I was 4, he was very well named and bucked me off frequently, making me even more determined! Aged 4 Rascal bucked me off and I broke my collarbone. Mr Bumble was my first horse, who I got aged 13 and he came off the race course as a 4 yr old. He took me from Pony Club camps and teams through to my first Young Rider selection and onto my first CCI**** at Burghley Horse Trials where we were 10th.
How did you get started in your discipline?
In the Hurworth Pony Club. I took part in all aspects of team competitions, but did love Tetrathlon in Pony Club. It was really my love of riding cross-country that made me choose eventing. I had a childhood dream of going to the Olympics. I thought I would be a good enough runner to be a Pentathlete, but the fencing let me down so I decided to focus solely on Eventing.
Mentor/Idol when growing up?
My Mentor has always been Chris Bartle, he has been hugely influential in my career. Idols when I was young were Lucinda Green, Ian Stark and Karen Dixon who lived in the same county as us and nowadays I would include Ingrid Klimke. When we went to watch the horse trials when we were younger, my sister and I used to knock on Karen Dixon's lorry door for endless signed photos and she always had time for us!
Proudest career moment?
Winning team silver medal at London 2012 Olympics and finishing 10th in my first 4* at Burghley without doubt gave me the bug! From that day on I knew exactly what my career was going to be.
You ride because?
The trust built up over years of training and the wonderful partnership between horse and rider on the cross-country course is magical. Horses are such wonderfully strong, intelligent animals that are so kind and sensitive and it is an honour to work with them, have their trust and call my passion my job!
If you weren’t a professional rider, what would you be?
I think I would be involved with horses somehow. But after leaving university I gave myself a set number of years to achieve my goal and if I hadn't by that time I was going to get a proper job! Fortunately that day never came!
Favourite holiday destination?
My husband Alastair and I haven't been on holiday since our honeymoon in 2006 when we went to Kenya on safari and then Zanzibar on the beach for some well earned R and R. I am very fortunate that Alastair is very supportive of eventing so does come away to the events frequently hence not leaving much time for holidays. I think holidays are an area we both need to explore a little more, so who knows! I would love to ski again and lie for hours in the sun!
How do you unwind?
With friends over a glass of wine and scrummy meal. In the winter I enjoy hunting with friends where there is no pressure to ride accurately, enjoy horses for being horses and still getting an adrenaline buzz whilst being in lovely countryside.
Do you have a good luck charm, if so what is it?
I am not superstitious, but don’t like to tempt fate. However, before the London Olympics I was given a silver 4 leaf clover charm from our horse dentist, Sally Kingsley, which I popped onto a necklace and now wear all the time.
Favourite Ariat product?
That is such a difficult question as the Ariat clothing is so lovely and fits me so well. The coats are wonderful for riding in and fashion, the boots are all so comfortable and I am always kitted out from head to toe in Ariat. On a day to day basis I love the base layer tops with a zip half way and the soft shell jacket as they look smart, fit well for both riding and on the ground. On a non riding occasion I feel I can quickly look smart and presentable by pulling on the Ariat boots and jacket. The choice is endless and the clothing and footwear are stylish, comfortable and such a treat to wear whether working or relaxing.