Nicole Lockhead Anderson continued her stellar cross-discipline week by taking the Prenetics International Vase at the Prenetics Royal International Horse Show today (25 July).
The rider, who is based with British Olympic showjumper Holly Smith, won the two-phase CSI2* class on Azolette, over two seconds in front of Will Fletcher riding G.
It has been a fantastic week at Hickstead for Nicole, who won the Al Shira’aa six-year-old championship with Emerald Irish Cruise, and the overall working hunter championship on MJM Laszlo the next day.
Today’s conditions could not have been more different to those she faced earlier in the week; the heat had given way to driving rain, which Nicole said presented a challenge to which Tanya and Georgie Wareham’s eight-year-old mare was more than equal.
“You’re always a bit more careful on turnbacks in these conditions but the mare tries so hard for you, and is so good on her feet, and it paid off,” she said. “She’s amazing.”
Nicole said she is hugely grateful to Tanya and Georgie for the ride on the mare, who was owned by Holly as a six-year-old and sold last year.
“She was quite hot and Georgie’s done an amazing job, calming her down and making her more rideable, which makes my job much easier in the ring!” she said. “The horse is lovely to ride, she puts her heart on the line and wants to win, she loves it.”
A number of combinations came to grief at a tricky line across the arena; a water tray and a forward five strides uphill to a big oxer, but Azolette made nothing of it.
“I jumped in and the five just happened, I sat there and let her jump and she made it easy,” she said. “She’s such a talented mare, and so careful; she loves the big arenas and this course suited her.
“This is such an amazing ring; we’re so lucky to be here after these testing times, and there’s nowhere better than Hickstead.”
Nicole added that the yard has been full of excitement ahead of Holly and Denver’s departure for the Tokyo Games.
“There’s no one who deserves it more,” she said. “Best of luck to the whole team, and hopefully they’ll bring back a medal.”
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Nicole Lockhead Anderson won the Al Shira’aa six-year-old championship with Emerald Irish Cruise earlier in the week...
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