The mark of a great cross-country rider isn’t that you can keep everything going smoothly at all times. Yes, of course it’s great when a round is foot-perfect and beautiful, but a truly great cross-country rider also needs the ability to react when things go wrong and ultimately, the stickability to avoid a fall.
Things went wrong for the pair at the first of two nests in the Womble Bond Dickinson Pond (fence 21abcde), towards the end of the difficult Ian Stark-designed course. As they appeared on the landing side, it was obvious things were awry, with One Two Many twisting his back end to scramble over the fence and splaying his front legs to stay upright. Still, it looked like both he and Nicola were going to take an early bath.
But somehow — and all credit to horse as well as rider here — the 16-year-old bay gelding managed to stay on his feet. Nicola was thrown forward and then back, ending up sitting behind the cantle of the saddle. Remarkably, though, she managed to remain on board.
Thinking quickly, the rider pulled away from the second nest to the side of the water, regaining her seat and looking like she planned to continue her round by attempting the second nest. However, as the saying goes, she decided discretion was the better part of valour and put up her hand to retire from the competition.
Re-live Nicola and One Two Many’s extraordinary near-miss in the sequence of pictures below…
Pictures by Peter Nixon
Don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (14 June 2018) for the full report from the 2018 Equi-Trek Bramham Horse Trials, including the Equi-Trek CCI3*, the British Horse Feeds under-25 CCI3* and the BETA CIC3*
For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday