Nick Skelton and Big Star bid an emotional farewell

Images supplied courtesy of British Showjumping
Photos supplied courtesy of British Showjumping

Both emotions and tears flowed all too easily across the packed grandstands at Royal Windsor Horse Show this afternoon when Rio 2016 Individual Gold medallists, Nick Skelton and Big Star, formally retired from competition in front of British Showjumping Patron, Her Majesty The Queen.

The historic backdrop of Windsor Castle, couldn’t been more fitting a venue for the emotionally charged final appearance of the legendary horse & rider combination who won Great Britain their very first Individual Gold medal for the sport of showjumping last summer. 

Nick, who began riding at just 18 months old on a Welsh pony called Oxo, fought back tears as he brought to a close his long and illustrious career that has seen him appear in excess of a hundred and seventy Nations Cup teams, hold the British high jump record for when he cleared 7ft 7ins on Lastic in 1978, three Hickstead Derby wins in the 1980’s, ten European and six World Championship medals plus a World Cup title. Not to mention being part of the Olympic gold medal winning team at the 2012 London Olympics with Big Star before he achieved his penultimate dream of becoming the first British Showjumping Olympic Individual Gold Medallist in Rio 2016.

Images supplied courtesy of British Showjumping

When Nick won Gold at Rio last summer he was embraced by both the public and media at a global level as, at the age of 58 years, his win inspired generations that it is never too late to follow your sporting dreams.  His win was nothing short of miraculous when you consider he had returned to competition after sustaining a broken neck following a fall in September 2000 and his success over adversity really endeared him to the nation.  Since his return to riding Nick has also had a hip replacement and knee operation, but none of this deterred him from securing the ultimate dream of an Olympic Individual Gold medal with the incredible Big Star whom he had produced from a novice.

Regarding his returning to riding after his injury Nick commented “Back in 2000 when I had that accident surgeons told me I should never ride again but after two years of not competing I was feeling lost and I didn’t know what to do so I got back riding again and lucky I did! I have no regrets about it, when I think about what I have achieved it proves I made the right decision.”

This excerpt is from the British Showjumping press release. Read the full article here: