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After a five-month absence, top British showjumper Nick Skelton made a winning return to competition in Florida, USA, yesterday (Wednesday, 12 January).

“I haven’t lost it!” said Nick. “It’s like riding a bike.”

The 53-year-old was last seen representing Britain in the Meydan FEI Nations Cup at Dublin Horse Show in August, 2010.

He then underwent a hip replacement operation followed by rotator cuff surgery to his left shoulder, which required the tendons to be reattached, and then intensive physiotherapy as part of the recuperation process.

“It’s good to be back and I’m feeling good, too,” Nick told H&H from the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, where he will be competing until March.

“I rode four today and won a 1.45m on Unique — the first class I did.”

As well as his first-day victory with Beverley Widdowson’s Unique in the $8,000 (£5,000) speed class, he rode two double clears on Big Star and Alberto.

With this return to the top level, Nick added that he has the European Championships in Madrid in September as this year’s target, as well as Nations Cups teams.