H&H recently visited the Warwickshire stables of dual Olympic champion Nick Skelton and we encountered some super star horses, a devoted dog and a gleaming array of trophies. We hope you enjoy this exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Nick’s yard and don’t miss the full interview in tomorrow’s issue of the magazine (20 October).
1. Brilliant partnership
Nick Skelton and Big Star in front of the stables. Nick has ridden and produced the Quick Star stallion since finding him as a five-year-old, saying he always knew he could win Olympic gold. (And we just love, love, love Big Star’s saddle pad!)
2. Winners galore
The walls are covered in mementos of 58-year-old Nick’s global successes from a career spanning well over four decades.
3. A beautiful setting
Nick and “Henry” in the beautiful Warwickshire foothills he calls home.
4. Tacking up
Helped by groom of 31 years, Mark Beever, Nick puts the finishing touches to an immaculate Big Star.
The nearly-finished new accommodation block at the nearby racing stables of Nick’s trainer son Dan Skelton, is decorated with the Union flag and a brilliantly improvised makeshift gold medal.
6. Good vibrations
Big Star enjoys some down time every day on the Vitafloor — a stable with a vibrating floor — under the heat lamps.
7. Gold star for Big Star
Hanging on Big Star’s stable door is this gold star that was sent to the yard after the 13-year-old stallion helped Nick win individual gold in Rio in August.
8. Hacking out
Groom Mark Beever rides out Big Star — “He walks at a snail’s pace” at home says Nick of the laid-back stallion.
9. Worth his weight in gold
Nick proudly displays his team gold medal from the London Olympics in 2012 and the individual gold medal from Rio in 2016.
10. Beautiful Big Star
Owned by Gary and Beverley Widdowson, the handsome stallion now combines competing with stud duties.
11. That’s a lot of polishing!
Nick’s impressive collection of silverware fills the shelves.
12. Grub’s up
Carrots and hay are on the lunch menu for one lucky horse on Nick’s yard, which he shares with partner Laura Kraut.
13. Training for success
Riders and horses working in Nick’s outdoor school which has a backdrop to die for.
14. Keeping an eye on proceedings
“If I strike a very regal pose, perhaps the photographer will stop taking pictures of Big Star and concentrate on me instead” —Nick’s dog Elsa enjoying the Autumn sunshine.
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15. The famous steps!
Nick’s mounting block, which travelled all the way to Rio and back, and took a starring role in the medal ceremony.
16. Spa treatments
Big Star enjoys some hydrotherapy on the racing yard.
17. Just the three of us
Nick with his Olympic medal-winning ride Big Star and his beautiful dog Elsa enjoying a well-earned break at home after the whirlwind of Rio.