‘Proudest day of my life’: Nick Skelton honours sons’ achievements

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  • Nick Skelton has revealed it was his sons’ achievement — not his own — that gave him the “proudest day” of his life.

    The Rio 2016 individual and London 2012 team Olympic gold medallist said watching his sons achieve their first Cheltenham Festival winner was his proudest moment.

    “Harry said when I won the gold medal was the proudest day of his life but for me when they won there [Cheltenham] that was the proudest day of my life,” Nick said.

    “It’s really good for them and we’re a really close family. It’s great what they’re doing.”

    Nick was speaking on the Jockey’s Club’s “Love the Jumps” podcast this week.

    Dan trained Superb Story, who was ridden to victory in the County Handicap Hurdle by Harry at the 2016 festival.

    Nick works with Dan, but insists most of the hard work is down to his son.

    “Dan grew up and did his training and his apprenticeship with Paul Nicholls, the best there is,” said Nick.

    “He got all that knowledge from training and doing what they did with those horses in terms of getting them fit and what races to put them in and this, that and the other.

     “I’m there if I’m needed with the jumping skills.

    “They jump them a lot and if they have a difficult one or we watch them schooling or if there’s something I think we should do, I suggest it and we’ll try it.”

    He added they do a lot of work in ensuring horses are rideable.

    “With a racehorse when they go out and put everything in it takes them more recovery time than a showjumper,” said Nick.

    “They’re galloping for five, six minutes and flat to the boards and a lot of stress and strain.

    “The [show]jumpers, they’ll be doing it over 85-90 seconds and the recovery rate is probably quicker and it’s not so stressful.

     “So it’s a whole different thing really but we do school them a lot.

    “Not only over chase fences or hurdles. We do a lot of schooling over poles and jumps and things like that. We try and get them rideable.

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     “It’s no good galloping down to a fence at 40 miles an hour. You have no control.

    “We try and do a bit of dressage with them and get control. It’s all about control.”

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