This week Nick Skelton, 59, announced his retirement from show jumping. His partner, Big Star, the 14 year-old KWPN stallion will also be retired.
Nick became Britain’s second oldest Olympic gold medalist at the Rio Olympics in 2016. His jumping achievements include 16 championship medals – two Olympic golds, five world championships, nine European medals and the junior European title in 1975. He still holds the British high jump record at 7’7” set in 1978.
“I have always stated that when Big Star finished I would too. This sport has given me more than I could ever have hoped over the past 43 years and it is such a difficult decision to make, but I’m not getting any younger and it is nice for the two of us to end on the highest note possible.”
Undeniably an accomplished professional, perhaps one of Nick’s greatest gifts is that he gave us permission to be “equestrians of age”. At the world’s most prestigious competitions, Nick mounted Big Star clambering up a step ladder and he did so in the open.
“I’ve got a metal hip now, so I always use the step ladder to climb aboard,” Nick said.
As WARHorses, we are a bit older but we can still be competitive. It doesn’t matter how you get in the saddle as much as what you do once you are there. Nick Skelton inspires us to keep trying.
Nick and Big Star will make one final public appearance at their official farewell tribute during the Royal Windsor Horse Show, Sunday May 14.
Happy retirement Nick and Big Star!