Scotts still a golden team

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 09:00 05/04/2014
andrew and louise scott
WARWICK SMITH
ANDREW AND LOUISE: The Scotts in the autumn sun at their tailormade all-weather jumping arena at Feilding.

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Andrew Scott won team eventing gold at Stockholm in 1990 in the days when he proudly wore the New Zealand kit around the globe.

Now it is his time which is worth the gold on his farmlet on Feilding's outskirts.

You just won't find Scott or his wife Louise on horseback any longer. In fact they don't own a horse on the place anymore.

Their equestrian career now flies in a new direction, their business centred around Andrew travelling the country coaching, course-designing and running seminars.

"We've got a fair few airpoints," he chuckles.

Having gone the teaching route, he is in jest sometimes referred to as Dr Scott. That came about when a girl he was coaching injured her ankle, wanted to keep riding and when officials asked her if she had seen a doctor, she said "I saw Dr Scott".

The moniker could equally apply to his passion for coaching and sports psychology, even outside the horse world and in the past with his son's rugby teams.

Scott, 53, is these days a New Zealand high-performance coach, serves on Equestrian NZ's advisory committee, and is an adjunct lecturer at Massey University.

They were almost irrelevant in October 2012 when he watched Louise crash off a young 3-year-old horse.

"She was concussed for 40 minutes; I thought she was dead," Andrew said. "She fell off doing 50kmh."

Louise will be forever grateful that Andrew had recently bought her a new carbon-fibre helmet from Germany, worth about $1500.

"It smashed to bits. If she had had her [20-year] old helmet, she'd be dead," Andrew said. The crash has affected her balance and she gets tired, but she takes it in her stride.

"I count myself lucky I had 45 years of it," she said. "Sometime you've got to give up riding."

Previously the Scotts bought slow racehorses, converted them to show horses and exported them. But there came a time where Andrew's back was giving him too much trouble, when he had to be lifted off the horse at the end of the crosscountry.

Riding retirement beckoned. In September, they bulldozed a hill and built the Andrew Scott Equestrian Centre, a 70m x 50m all-weather arena on their 5-hectare property. It can cater for kids of nine up to 60 year olds.

As recently as two years ago Andrew was at the London Olympics finishing his stint as a New Zealand chairman of selectors where he also found himself doing commentary for Sky.

He would probably jump at the chance if TV work came up at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

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Scott never got to ride at an Olympics. Twice he was a reserve, at Los Angeles and Barcelona.

After the Beijing Games, New Zealand hadn't won an Olympics eventing medal in 20 years. He became a selector, which took up a huge amount of personal time when not earning at home, but he can claim part of the credit for changing a less-than-great-culture in the eventing set.

"There was a group of people who saw the Olympics as the prize - goal reached."

They had to break up the cliques and set higher targets to get in the squads. They got a good buy-in from senior rider Andrew Nicholson and a more positive attitude from the New Zealand team.

New Zealand might now have five of the top 10 eventers in the world, based in Europe, but Scott says the standard in New Zealand has plummeted .

His focus now is coaching coaches at the elite level in all three disciplines, making the most difference in jumping.

"We don't have the horses. Eventing NZ has really missed the boat. They don't do enough for kids."

His next project will be to build a New Zealand pony clubs' eventing course at Massey University next year and for it to be mountainbiking friendly.

ANDREW SCOTT

Equestrian NZ elite coach Manawatu sportsperson of year 1991 Manawatu coach of year Won eventing team gold 1990 World Equestrian Games (WEG). Coached Brazil at 1994 WEG and to gold 1995 Pan-American Games. 2012 Prime Minister's Coaching Scholarship Massey University Adjunct Lecturer Twice rode for NZ at world championships Twice Olympics Games reserves 8 times in NZ trans-Tasman team Mentor to many of NZ's advanced riders. 

- Manawatu Standard

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