You are currently viewing 5 minutes with Nicola Sime-Riley

5 minutes with Nicola Sime-Riley

Tell us how your Reonet show went overall?

The horses jumped so well and it really was a lovely show. It was the first one back for the season and it was greatly supported by all the riders. I rode Contessa in the 1.30m. She had a few looks in the Bob Charter as the young horses can do, but jumped really well. Then Crispin jumped in the 1.35m. He had a lovely double clear in the champs but was not fast enough for a high place – I think he placed 10th or thereabouts. Insaghi (aka Ziggy) is a Belgian stallion, who was brought into the country by Fred De Wae and Ronelle Gilbert to sell. I was asked to ride him…And then, well I bought him! I am hoping for a bright future with this horse. Reach for Gold is getting back into the swing of it. She had biliary at the end of the year last year so missed SA Champs. Finally, Connoisseur jumped out of his socks so he is ready for President’s Cup.

Which of your horses impressed you the most and why? What grades? etc.

Fulvic Connoisseur and Ziggy jumped out of their socks. They were fresh, happy and “rearing to go”! Con just tries his heart out for me and is my “Rolls Royce” of horses – comfortable and knows his job. Ziggy will have his debut in 150m in the Presidents Cup show. I will start him there and see how he copes. He has some really big boots to fill.

Which horse do you need to work on the most / did not go as well as you would’ve liked?

Reach for Gold needs a little more work. She jumped so well in the 1.35m and then had 2 silly poles in the 1.40m so I will work on her a little more. There are no real big exercises for her to work on – she is just a flighty, sassy mare who has her own ideas and we have to try to make her think that our ideas are hers! Her biggest downfall is her ride ability and that’s temperament based – some days she’s quiet and easy to ride, others she’s busy and wanting to go her way so I have to take it day by day with her.

Who is the one horse in your string that never disappoints you – that once again this weekend was consistent etc.

Connoisseur – he is my Rolls Royce. He is amazing all the time and is such a trier. I have had him since he was a 7yo when he was jumping 1m in Namibia. He doesn’t get drilled all that much as he really knows his job, so it’s really all about fitness. He just needs to be fit and strong to give me his best.

What was your overall impression of the tracks over the 3 days?

The tracks rode very well. I think the courses were thoroughly enjoyed by all the riders. Ryan gave us some lovely courses that flowed smoothly – they were well planned and placed. The Bob Charter can be a difficult arena as there’s the slope in many places which can affect the course quite dramatically depending on where the course designer places the jumps, but the course was great

Your thoughts on the new Bob Charter going?

I thought the arena rode very very well. I had two horses with no shoes, and they were just perfect. I really enjoyed it. I jumped Connoisseur and Contessa without shoes – just because they can go without shoes. If we had had a lot of rain my farrier is always on standby to put some shoes with studs for me.

What is your next show and on what horses?

Next show is President’s Cup and I’m looking forward to it! I am hoping Con and Ziggy will have a good show in the top classes… It would be nice to win President’s Cup for a third time! As for the rest of the horses: I hope they all have wings! In terms of which horses I expect to love this show the most, I would say Crispin. He’s just so much fun, and loves his job (after the first day when he will no doubt try to kill me in the warm-up!) That’s just his type of fun – the kind that most riders won’t want to ride … haha, but he’s my lil pocket rocket and no matter the size of the jump he’s always game to try. If he was one hand bigger he would have definitely jumped 1.50m as I know he would try but I don’t want to put that strain on him – he’s just too special and fun to ride, so I will keep him in 1.30m/1.35m and he will stay happy. He’s competed 1.40m and done well, but I just felt it was a bit of a reach for him, maybe I’ll try a few 1.40m speed classes again on him in the near future… Who knows! I am hoping that they all jump well – we all put our all into them but at the end of the day as I always say – It’s how you both compete and work together on the day.

Sadly I will not be jumping Nissan Easter Festival as I have a student who Qualified for Children’s FEI Finals, so I will be going along with her to help her, as well as Graham Swansen’s student, Alex Ric-Hansen over in Uzbekistan.

What are your goals for 2019?

Live, love, ride – ENJOY every minute of it… We all like to win but unfortunately we lose a lot more than we win (that goes for anything in life, so just enjoy the ride!) Motivation for me comes from riding young horses, getting them started and seeing their progress. With the bigger horses, it’s short term goals. I ride for each show that we go to… They all know their job so it’s mostly just fitness for them.