New Zealand eventer Andrew Nicholson has won a $US50,000 bonus as the HSBC Rankings leader at the end of the 2012 season, after holding on to the world number one spot since claiming team bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Nicholson, 51, was presented with his prize at the London International Horse Show in Olympia yesterday by John McEwen, First Vice President of the FEI.
Nicholson kicked off 2012 by finishing seventh at the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (USA), the third leg of the HSBC FEI Classics 2011/2012 series, and then secured fourth at the following leg, the Luhmühlen CCI4*. He went on to captain the New Zealand bronze medal team at London 2012, his sixth Olympic Games, finishing fourth individually with Nereo.
Just one month later he rode Avebury to a third victory in 17 years at the Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, the final leg of the HSBC FEI Classics 2011/2012 season. He then won the opening leg of the new series at Les Etoiles de Pau (FRA), again on Libby Sellars’ Nereo, sealing his lead in the HSBC Rankings by a comfortable margin over Olympic team silver medallist, William Fox-Pitt (GBR).
Nicholson first came to England as a 19-year-old to work with racehorses. His first CCI4* was Badminton in 1984, earning him a place on the New Zealand Olympic team at Los Angeles. He has ridden at a further five Olympic Games since then, winning team silver in 1992 and team bronzes in 1996 and 2012. He also won team gold at the 1990 FEI World Equestrian Games on Spinning Rhombus, and team and individual bronze at WEG 2010, again on Nereo.
“It is a fantastic feeling ending 2012 as leader of the HSBC Rankings,” he said. “I’ve been close for the last two years, but this year has been exceptional for me. I worked hard on my fitness last winter and this put me on top form for the season. I’ve also been extremely lucky with my horses Nereo, Mr Cruise Control, Calico Joe, Avebury and Qwanza.”
Giles Morgan, HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship, said: “Andrew Nicholson is well known for being one of the hardest working and naturally talented eventing athletes. He meticulously planned his 2012 eventing season, producing fantastic results that have kept him at the top of the HSBC Rankings to win this special reward.
“He has also become an icon for many young generations of eventing athletes, and we are delighted to be able to recognise his achievements this year as leader of the HSBC Rankings.”
HSBC became title sponsor of the Eventing Rider Rankings in 2008. The HSBC Rankings are run on a rolling 12-month basis. In July of last year, HSBC announced a new initiative to reward the leading rider at the end of the season with a $US50,000 bonus.
Top 10 Rankings
Full 2012 HSBC Rankings 1-3252