Four-star event horse seized in legal battle

  • A New Zealand event rider is urgently trying to get his four-star ride back after the horse was seized at Hartpury Horse Trials.

    Just Ironic, ridden by Craig Nicolai and owned by his mother Anne, was taken by bailiffs at the Gloucestershire fixture last month (13 August).

    Craig told H&H that he found out through Facebook that the horse was advertised for sale.

    “It is hard because he has always been a part of the family,” Craig told H&H.

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    He added the support he has had from social media users has been “amazing”.

    Just Ironic was bought as a two-year-old by Anne and Craig took over the ride in 2006. The combination went from novice to advanced in a year.

    They have competed at six four-stars together and were entered for Burghley Horse Trials this week (3-6 September).

    The grey gelding, by Ironclad, has 313 British Eventing points and has competed with Craig at numerous other international events.

    The Kiwi eventer said on his Facebook page that the horse, known as Spida, had been seized as part of a dispute with a former livery over payments.

    He also said that they are awaiting a third-party property court hearing, which is currently scheduled for 11 September.

    I am so very grateful for all of the support that I am receiving, but feel that the credibility of both my mother and I has been unfairly jeopardised by this horrendous situation and a special horse to our family is suffering the consequences,” he wrote.

    According to Craig, proof of his mother’s ownership of the horse has been supplied to the courts and bailiffs.

    The bailiffs and other party involved in the dispute have not responded to H&H’s requests for comment.

    NZ Eventing said it hopes the situation is “sorted out quickly”.

    “Craig and his supporters are desperately trying to get the 17-year-old horse back, including on the basis he is owned by Craig’s mother Anne who lives back here in New Zealand,” the organisation posted on social media on 29 August.

    “We know there is a special lifelong bond between the Nicolai family and Spida.”

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