Ahead of the 2022 Royal Windsor Horse Show we meet Kate Nicholson (pictured) who will be judging the ride section of the open cobs.
Who is Kate Nicholson?
Kate and her husband Magnus Nicholson have produced several Royal International (RIHS) and Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) victors as well as county show champions. HOYS 2018 was a particularly superb show for the duo, who won both the cob of the year championship with Silver Diamond and the small hunter class with Bowland Dynamo.
Which judging panels are you on?
I am on both ride and conformation panels for British Show Horse Association (BSHA) and Sports Horse Breeding of Great Britain (SHB(GB)).
What will you be looking for when the combinations enter the ring?
I will be looking for something with quality. I want a good moving cob who is light on his feet with a good front. I like to see a combination who look like a partnership, and a horse who looks happy with his ears forward, obviously enjoying himself in the ring.
What sort of ride will you be looking for?
I’m ideally looking for a smooth, obedient ride who can go up and down the gears willingly whilst staying balanced. I like a horse who is happy in the contact and is not leaning down or backing off the bridle. I don’t like horses who anticipate or try to predict what will happen; I like a horse who asks me “ok, what shall we do now?”
What are some of your show ring pet hates?
When watching the go-round I don’t like to see horses that are over-bent with their heads tucked into their chests and are way behind the vertical. In the ride, I don’t like a horse who won’t take a contact; they should be light in the hand and not scared of the bits in their mouths. I also don’t like to see riders wearing jackets which are too short as it can really distract from the overall elegance of the picture.
What makes Royal Windsor so special?
Windsor is one of my favourite shows. The venue is simply beautiful, the rings and facilities are excellent, and there is always such a fabulous atmosphere. It’s a shame there are no national stables this year as I think a lot of showing people go the extra mile and try to make a special occasion out of attending. Royal Windsor usually clashes with my birthday which gives me the perfect excuse for a glass of fizz after the classes!
Any advice for those riding at Royal Windsor for the first time?
Make sure all your preparation is done at home so when you get there you can just to enjoy the experience.
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