Nicola Wilson with JL Dublin at the European Championships 2021.
What championships has Nicola ridden at?
Nicola got her first taste of success in 1997 when she was selected to ride as an individual for the young rider European squad in Pratoni on Mr Bumble.
Nicola was first selected as a senior British team member at the 2009 European Eventing Championships in Fontainebleau where she came home with a team gold medal riding Opposition Buzz (aka Dodi).
The talented gelding attracted a huge following thanks to his incredible scope and slightly unorthodox jumping style and the pair became regular pathfinders for the British team over the next few years.
Together they won team gold at the World Equestrian Games in 2010 in Kentucky, team bronze at the 2011 European Championships in Luhmühlen and team silver at the Olympics in London in 2012.
JL Dublin was bought by Nicola as a four-year-old at the Holsteiner sales in Germany and Nicola says the winter of 2020 to 2021 was a turning point in his career.
“He had matured into the horse we’d always hoped he’d be,” said Nicola in an interview after her Europeans win. “He’d always tried hard, but he used to strike me as the kind of character that would love to be at the bar drinking beer with his mates.
“And over the winter, it was like he decided, ‘I‘d still like to drink beer on my downtime, but I’d also like to do really well and drink champagne afterwards.”
Nicola Wilson and JL Dublin at the 2021 European Championships.
“It sounds a bit dramatic, and I’m over it now, I’m very lucky,” she said in an interview in 2021. “The pneumonia from lying on my back was more painful.”
When she was injured, Nicola realised her livelihood was dependent on her being able to compete and reassessed her set-up.
“It was a worry with a significant injury that I’d lose all my owners and horses,” she said. “Frankly, it was positively terrifying. The thought that everything you’d always had could all go at the drop of a hat.
“Alastair and I had this realisation of how fragile your life, career and health is – and that everything we had was in me competing.”
The couple bought a number of two-year-olds.
“We had to re-evaluate and think of the future – perhaps we’d have to produce horses to sell, or for me to ride. At at two they didn’t need to be ridden while I wasn’t able to ride.”
Nicola returned to competition in the spring of 2020 and described being able to ride cross-country again as being “like a kid in a sweet shop. It was magic.”
Where is Nicola’s yard?
Nicola is based on a 100-acre farm in North Yorkshire, which she and Alastair own.
Isn’t there another Nicola Wilson?
There is another event rider called Nicola Wilson (who also calls herself Nici Wilson). She won an individual silver medal at the 2007 young rider Europeans at Blair Castle riding Oingy Boingy.