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5 minutes with Nicole Horwood

Text: Caroline Malan

Who did you compete at President’s Cup?

I competed Mark White Nissan Capital Hitoshi, Mark White Nissan Capital Don Cumarco and Mark White Nissan Capital Kronos.

Were you happy with their performances at the show?

I was obviously thrilled with Don Cumarco jumping four clear rounds to win the title! He has had a long rest since November last year so has certainly come back on form, behaving like he is 6 years old again, so I think the break has done him good. I could feel from the first day we were in with a chance. He can be a challenge in the warm up – he gets really feisty and sometimes its difficult just to even approach a fence. Last year when he came 2nd I couldn’t even warm him up for the jump off – I just jumped a cross and went straight in. This year wasn’t far off that either, but when he behaves like that I know he is going to fight for me in the ring.

Hitoshi was not at his best this show. I don’t think the format of the President’s Cup suits him. He gets better as the show goes on and normally peaks on the last day, so given that you carry your scores all the way through I elected to not jump him on the final day and just rather focus on Don Cumarco.

Kronos was amazing. This was his first 1m40 show and he was placed in both the speed and the Championship classes so I have high hopes for him in the future.

What are your plans leading up to Nissan Easter Festival?

The horses now have a couple of days to rest and recover.  Between now and the Easter Festival I will just focus on fitness training, flatwork and some grid work to keep them supple and focused. I will probably just have one big jump a few days before the show.

Which horses are you competing at Easter Festival?

I am competing the same three horses at Easter Festival, as I did at President’s Cup.

What is your advice for newcomers to the Easter Festival?

The Bob Charter is one of my favourite arenas to compete in. Firstly because it’s grass and secondly because it’s so big. I think this works in your favour if you are jumping in the open classes for the first time as you have lots of room between fences to refocus and regather yourself.

My main advice would, however, be to try and enjoy the atmosphere of the show – it really is unique and the crowds really support you. All your prep work has been done so just try to remain focused and stick to your game plan; keep things simple; don’t over analyse the courses; visualise your rounds in advance; be positive; and give your horse confidence. Most of all – have fun – that’s why we do what we do after all!