Kiwi rider Andrew Nicholson remains off the country’s high performance squad as Equestrian Sport New Zealand (ESNZ) said he has “not been prepared to meet certain standards required of its squad members”.

“There is no question that Andrew is an outstanding rider, but our role is to look out for the whole team,” said ESNZ’s chief executive Vicki Glynn.

No one member is more important than the whole, no matter who that person is or what their track record is in the sport”.

The federation said the rider has also “put a number of conditions on his reintegration into the squad which he is not prepared to move on”.

Andrew told H&H he “refutes” the recent ESNZ statment, but “has no further comment to make”.

“Currently I am only interested in focusing on my forthcoming events,” he added.

Earlier this year Andrew told H&H he was “disappointed” in his federation after being left off the high performance squad list for 2015 — despite making himself available for selection.

In October Andrew withdrew himself from the selection process until a review following the World Equestrian Games (WEG), after a reported disagreement with a team vet.

The seven-time Olympian alleged his ride Nereo was left without veterinary assistance on several occasions.

He maintains that he had to find someone to track the vet down, which led to “robust discussion and an argument”. However, he then put himself forward for team selection later in the year.

“We accepted that withdrawal, which was part of an internal agreement between ESNZ and Andrew. While Andrew more recently asked to return, in ESNZ’s view the circumstances have not changed,” said ESNZ chief executive Vicki Glynn, who added that “horse wellbeing” is always ESNZ’s “primary concern”.

However, now ESNZ said that Andrew’s behaviour at WEG, which the federation says included a “verbal and physical altercation” with the team vet, “fell far short of what is expected from members of the ESNZ team”.

They added that Andrew has since “insisted on a number of special conditions as part of his re-inclusion”.

These, say the federation, include not working with some members of the team management and being allowed to operate outside the team as an individual, which is “not feasible in a team environment”.

“Consequently this leaves no way to go forward with him in the squad at present,” continues the statement.

The door is still open to Andrew to be a high performance squad member if he is happy to be treated like all other team members, to sign up and abide by the rules that apply to everyone and to work as part of the team. It is up to Andrew to take advantage of that so the path may be cleared for his return to the squad.”

  • Jan

    This is currently of a high debate on Facebook Pages and this serious issue needs raising again. See…..
    Facebook Pages…….. NZ Eventing Tom Lane Yvonne Hobbs from current riders past competitors who have represented NZ at World competitions and avid supporters all who contribute to the expense of with their taxpayers money so are investors !! We await with anticipation your fine investigative journalism.

  • donaldmcmiken

    Eventing is an individual sport and eventers are typically and courageously individual. Andrew Nicholson and any rider of his ilk should not be discriminated against because they resist submission to a team ethic, or officialdom of Olympic or sport governing body. Instead such skilled and experienced individuals should be heeded and treated with deference.
    Too much sport is about corporate team sports, yes corporate in that football teams like the All Blacks are corporations, as are their sponsors and newspaper propaganderists. This is not the All Blacks, and vets or team officials are not appointed kings to rule over members of the eventing team. There is no point in eventing, of all riders and horses, training the same way or conforming to some uniform team precept (except for the doping rules).
    I say this: Give Andrew a go!