August 1 is the day we celebrate horses’ birthdays, and it’s also many happy returns to Andrew Nicholson. Andrew is 55 today, and so we thought we’d celebrate by listing 20 of the reasons we love him!
- That time he casually jumped one-handed into a four-star water.
2. Those Burghley wins, with Avebury. It’s the only time three four-stars have been won consecutively on the same horse.
3. Let’s not forget his earlier Burghley wins; the first was in 1995 on Buckley Province, and the second was in 2000 on Mr Smiffy. In those days, Burghley was sponsored by a pet food company.
4. But he’s never given up on his quest to win Badminton, a title that eludes him despite 35 completions.
5. He’s a devoted father of four: Rebecca and Melissa from his first marriage, and Lily and Zach from his second.
6. He scrubs up in a dinner jacket pretty damned fine.
7. And he’s got his trot-up look honed to perfection.
8. Even managing to make a dodgy Olympic uniform look classy.
9. See, we told you.
10. But he’s not afraid of busting out a more casual look.
11. There’s that smile, that sets the hearts of thousands of females a’flutter.
12. But that forthrightness, that sets the knees of a thousand officials a’trembling.
13. There’s the fact that no cross-country fence daunts him.
14. Even the really weird ones.
15. And there’s no turn too tight, or inside line too impossible.
16. There were those two bronze medals (team and individual) at the World Equestrian Games in 2010, which signalled the end of New Zealand’s decade-long medal drought.
17. And that agonising fourth spot at London, which nevertheless anchored the New Zealand team into another bronze-medal win.
18. There’s the fact he’s always got time for young fans.
19. There’s the undeniable truth that he’s the consummate horseman.
20. And there’s this photo from our files, which was too good not to share.We wish you many happy returns Andrew, and hope you enjoy a wonderful day!