Nicky was born with a deteriorating eye condition called Stargardt’s, which was first diagnosed when she was 11.
Stargardt’s is a very rare condition of the eye where the macular region degenerates, eventually leaving people with no central vision and a very small amount of peripheral vision. For reasons no one knows, Nicky’s condition seems to be particularly severe; she lost her central vision in her early twenties and is now left with only being able to see shapes against a contrasting background to the side and underneath. She has total night blindness and suffers badly with glare. However, this has never stopped her being able to achieve anything she has wanted to do.
Nicky’s family have never had any interest in horses, but Nicky went for her first lesson at her local riding school when she was eight and from that day onwards she was totally hooked!
Nicky was very fortunate to have a pony to share at the age of 11 and owned her first horse at the age of 14. Her horse was kept at the local DIY yard, and Nicky would be there every day before and after school. This horse was a high-level showjumper who needed a slightly easier life, and he taught Nicky all the basics about showjumping. From there, Nicky started her showjumping career and was reasonably successful; competing for her school and college. Nicky continued jumping until her early twenties, when her sight just got too bad to continue. Throughout this time, Nicky worked as a groom at an international showjumping and eventing yard. Her ambition had always been to be the best groom in the world and never to compete herself on the international stage. Nicky has always been very competitive, but never dreamed she could be at the top of her game.
Nicky’s dressage career started in her early twenties when her sight was dwindling. Even though her passion was now eventing, she went to work for an international dressage rider. From here onwards, Nicky owned and trained dressage horses, specialising in backing and training young horses. She had no idea about any opportunities available for para riders, so Nicky paid someone to compete her horses for her. It wasn’t until she owned a horse, Welt Santa Cruz, who wouldn’t let anyone else get on him, that she investigated competing again herself.
In 2008, Nicky entered her first para dressage competition and was quickly talent-spotted by the late Jane Goldsmith. Jane took Nicky under her wing and before her feet could touch the ground, Nicky was competing on the international stage. Her first major achievement was being selected to ride at the Paralympic Test Event in London in 2011. From here, Nicky was taken on the exciting journey of the World Class Programme.
Nicky has since had much national and international success and is still part of the World Class Podium squad. Nicky and her husband, Gary, are very fortunate to have their horses at home, and still to this day Nicky looks after them herself.
|2019||European Championships||King Edward I||Team silver|