H&H visits showjumper Nicole Pavitt at her Sussex base, to discuss her exciting string of horses, the importance of her team and the adrenalin buzz of a big show
What is Nicole’s daily yard routine?
7.30am: the horses are fed and then mucked out. “There are currently three of us so we muck six out each,” says Nicole.
8.30am-lunch: the horses are exercised by Nicole and her staff — schooled, jumped or lunged. After work, the horses are washed down in a box complete with a solarium
One hour’s lunch break
3pm: the team returns to skip out, hay and feed all the horses, before doing evening stables later.
|“I have two horses with gastric issues and after using Vetrogard I have noticed a marked improvement in their wellbeing. They seem happier and more settled, and the crabby behaviour has gone whilst being handled and ridden.” Nicole Pavitt
How long has her family been involved with showjumping?
“On my mum’s side of the family my grandad had a livery yard so my mum and her sisters had ponies to start off with,” she says.
“My sister got into it a lot quicker than I did. She was seven-years-old when she did her first Horse of the Year Show.
“It took me until I was about 14 — I always had a pony but I never had the bug for it until my mum and dad’s really good friend gave me a 13.2hh pony that I kept falling off, which made me more determined to do it.”
How important is a good team?
“It’s everything — you have to rely on your staff when you go away to international shows. They have to treat them as their own and hopefully look after them as their own. We all have to pull together — whether it’s with my mum and dad, owners, sponsors, vets or farriers. We all have to work together to be one.”
Who are Nicole’s top horses?
The 10-year-old grey mare won at London GCT CSI2* with Nicole in July. She is a previous ride of Shane Breen and Michael Duffy. “She’s a sensitive mare so it has taken a while to build the trust with her,” says Nicole. “She’s a perfectionist, who panics when something goes slightly wrong.”
Nicole has ridden the 13-year-old chestnut gelding since 2011 and together they finished fifth in this year’s British Speed Classic at the Hickstead Derby meeting. “He wants to be so fast and his adrenaline takes over. He’s one in a million and I don’t think I’ll ever replace him, but he is a speed horse, I don’t think he’ll be a Nations Cup horse for me,” says Nicole.
A former ride of Steven Franks, the now eight-year-old mare by Diamant De Semilly joined Nicole in 2013. “I think a lot of her. We won the newcomers final at Horse of the Year Show last year,” says Nicole. “For an eight-year-old she’s already done plenty this year.”
The full interview with Nicole Pavitt was published in Horse & Hound magazine, 15 October issue