Leading British eventer Nicola Wilson has paid tribute to two of her stable stars on their retirement from the sport.
One Two Many and Annie Clover have both bowed out of eventing fit and well following glittering careers.
One Two Many, known as Coco, was on the silver medal-winning team at the 2015 European Eventing Championships at Blair Castle.
“He has been a fantastic horse and we have had so many fun times with him,” said Nicola. “He has such a fantastic character and he will certainly be missed on my yard.”
The 16-year-old Irish sport horse, by Chacoa, was produced up to advanced by Australia’s Bill Levett. The pair won Hartpury CIC3* in 2011 and were also among the nominated entries contending for a spot on the Australian squad at the 2012 Olympics.
Nicola took over the reins in 2013 and the combination went on to win five CIC3*s together — Blair Castle 2014 (Scottish Champion), Hopetoun 2015, Burgham 2015, Houghton Hall 2016 and Hartpury 2016.
Nicola and Coco finished notched up numerous other placings at the top level, including seventh place at Badminton in 2015, eighth at Pau CCI4* in 2014 and fourth at the same venue two years later.
Nicola added Badminton was one of her fondest competition memories with the horse.
“He made it feel very easy — he was a pleasure to ride,” she said.
“He did have a cheeky side to him and was a big character, but he was a fantastic horse to jump, he had amazing power over a fence as well as three beautiful paces. He was a grumpy old man on the outside and would put his ears back when you went into the stable, but on the inside he was as soft as putty and loved a good scratch.”
The gelding’s final competition was at Burgham CIC3* in July, where he finished second.
“The mutual decision was made between the Kemps [who own the horse] and myself that the time had come where he could still have a quality of life in his retirement and enjoy a bit of an easier life,” she said.
“That is so important to me — horses deserve that after all they have given to us, they deserve to have a happy retirement and a quieter time.”
Mary Kemp, who owns Coco with her husband, Gerry Kemp, and daughter Janine Shewan, added the horse is enjoying time in the field with some other retired eventers and will do some low level dressage and showjumping with Janine next year.
“He has just been the most wonderful horse and given us loads of pleasure,” said Mrs Kemp.
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Meanwhile, Annie Clover, who Nicola rode at two young horse World Championships and the 2014 World Equestrian Games, has retired to the hunting field.
The 14-year-old Irish sport horse mare, by Newmarket Venture, has three international wins to her name — including Bramham CIC3* in 2014 and Blair CCI3* in 2016 — as well as a host of top-10 finishes.
As a six-year-old, the mare won individual silver with Nicola at the young horse World Championships at Le Lion d’Angers, finishing fifth at the same venue the following year.
Her CCI4* results included eighth at Kentucky in 2015 and eighth at Pau the following year.
The mare hunted last season and has already been enjoying autumn hunting with Nicola’s mother Mary this year.
“Annie has always been quirky and clear on her likes and dislikes, but she has given her heart from the beginning and we had some amazing results through her career, I love her very much and think she gave me more than she really had to give,” added Nicola.
“She enjoys her hunting and mum enjoys riding her so I hope they have many years of fun on the hunting field.”
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