‘He’s back where he should be’: eventer Craig Nicolai reunited with Just Ironic

  • A four-star horse who was seized during a legal dispute over livery payments has returned home.

    Just Ironic, ridden by New Zealand eventer Craig Nicolai, was taken at by bailiffs at Hartpury Horse Trials, Glos, last August.

    Following an out of court settlement, Craig collected the 18-year-old grey gelding just before Christmas.

    “I’m relieved — we are all relieved, my parents as well,” Craig told H&H last week (Friday 5 February).

    “He is back where he should be.”

    Craig, who is based in Berkshire, recorded a video of “Spida” being turned out with his field mate for the first time since being taken in August and posted it on his Facebook page.

    “Spida was really excited,” Craig said.

    “His friend was running around [with him] and kept looking up to the fence as if to say ‘what is the big deal’.”

    The combination has been competing at advanced-level since 2007 and have been a frequent sight at three- and four-star events since then.

    Their best international finish was at Burnham Market in 2014, where they came third in the CIC3*.

    At Badminton last year — their sixth four-star together — the pair fell fence 27 (the John Whitaker Fallen Tree) and Craig was seen hugging the horse as they regained their feet.

    He had been lining Spida up for Burghley when the horse was taken.

    Craig said he would like to enjoy another season with Spida, but sadly the horse may now have to be sold due to the cost of the legal battle.

    He added one of the good things about having the horse back is that he can decide who he goes to.

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