Nicholson forgets medal in post-Games flurry
It's a busy time for New Zealand's three-day eventers, so much so that in the mad rush to get on the plane back home Andrew Nicholson forgot to pack his prized Olympic bronze medal.
The New Zealand eventing team has been on a whistle-stop tour of New Zealand, culminating with a day in Christchurch yesterday that coincided with the official Olympic team welcome home gathering at Pioneer Stadium.
The five-strong equestrian team managed to fit the trip in between events during the busy British season - the four-star Burghley Horse Trials in England begin next week - but world No 1 Nicholson forgot the star attraction. “I had to leave in a bit of a hurry; I was running late for the airport and I was probably about 20 miles from home and realised I didn't have the medal."
Fortunately a stand-in medal was produced because the team were swamped in Auckland and Cambridge, where England-based Nicholson and Mark Todd hail from, before being mobbed yesterday in Christchurch.
Nicholson and Jock Paget took a skills session at the National Equestrian Centre at McLeans Island in the morning and the entire team returned for another meet-and-greet in the afternoon.
Budding young riders made up most of the 300 or so attendees, while double Olympic champion Todd was one of the main attractions at Pioneer Stadium.
“It's great to be part of it; you can feel the excitement the Olympics generated and how much power it has on people,” Nicholson said. “We know everyone is supporting us but because we're not here that often, we don't see it. People on the streets and at the airport say what fun they had watching, even if they know nothing about horses, but they enjoyed watching on the telly and that's part of our job, to provide entertainment.”
Todd said: “It's been incredible.
"Everywhere we've been the reception has been fantastic and in Christchurch, with thousands of kids here, it's been absolutely brilliant.”
Meanwhile, Todd's talented young Olympic bronze medal-winning horse, Campino, could be on the move. Todd is “putting some feelers out” in the market, as was always the plan post-London, and Campino is likely to attract some interest.
The German-bred gelding horse Todd calls Kinky is only 10 years old but defied his inexperience at the Olympics as the masterful Todd rode him to a team bronze medal and 12th individually.
He was third after both the dressage and cross-country phases before tiring in the showjumping.
Todd reckoned the horse would be in prime shape for the Rio Olympics in 2016 but said it was always the plan to test the waters after the London Games.
Eventing horses don't fetch as much as specialist showjumping and dressage horses, which can carry eight-figure price tags, but Campino's efforts in London and his young age should be attractive.
“There is a possibility [Campino] may be sold. I will be selling some of the horses,” Todd said yesterday.
Land Vision, the horse he won Badminton with last year and his preferred Olympics mount until injury ruled him out in April, is still recuperating and won't be sold. Todd said he would most likely ride Land Vision at the 2014 world championships.