Eventing

Badminton 2017 by the Numbers

©Kit Houghton/Mitsubishi Motors

The 2017 Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials is a wrap!

Let’s review.

55 —age of 2017 winner, Andrew Nicholson (NZL)

At 55 years, nine months and six days, Nicholson is the oldest rider in Badminton history to capture the 4* title. The record was previously held by fellow Kiwi Mark Todd, who won it for the fourth time at 55 years, one month and 24 days old. #KiwiTough

18 — months since Nicholson suffered a life-threatening fall

On August 9, 2015, the Nicholson broke his neck at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park when his horse, Cillnabradden Evo, failed to clear the last cross-country fence. Injuries to the cervical spine often result in paralysis. Nicholson walked back to his trailer to prep for his next ride. His recovery has been nothing short of miraculous.

17 — age of the first AND second placing horses

Not only is Nicholson the oldest rider to win Badminton, he was riding the oldest horse to capture the 4* event! But he wasn’t the only senior in the field. At 17-years old, Nereo ties in age with the second place finisher La Biosthetique Sam FBW, ridden by Germany’s Michael Jung.

Said Jung: “It’s been a great week. Sam feels so strong and happy that even though he is now 17 years old, right now I think he has more competitions in him.”

11 —4* events Nereo has competed in since 2009

“Nereo is a truly amazing horse,” said Nicholson. “The amount of big events he’s done year after year is unbelievable.” Jung’s La Biosthetique Sam FBW, in comparison, has done seven.

49 — horses that completed cross country

Of the 81 horse and rider combinations to contest Eric Winter’s demanding cross country course, 32 failed to get around. Of those, 16 opted to retire and another 16 were eliminated, including USA’s Elisa Wallace, who was issued a Yellow Card for Abuse of the Horse. (Her mount, Simply Priceless appeared exhausted at the end of the course and stumbled after the final fence unseating his rider.) She issued a public apology the same day.

23 —faults Ingrid Klimke incurred in the show jumping.

Klimke was leading going into show jumping after picking up just 3.2 faults over a challenging cross country course. But with 16 jumping and seven time faults in show jumping, she and Horseware Hale Bob OLD dropped from first to ninth.

3 — number of New Zealanders in the top four

Nicholson’s teammate Tim Price finished in third with Xavier Faer, while Mark Todd and NZB Campino took fourth. The average age of those three riders: 51.

37 —times Nicholson has completed Badminton

The Kiwi rider first attempted the famed course 33 years ago. He holds the record for most competed starts.

1 — career goal achieved

“I always thought I would win Badminton, and I’ve just had to keep on coming here and taking my turn,” said Nicholson. “It’s been worth the wait. I’ve won big events before but this just feels so different.”

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