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Ready for Nissan Easter Festival: Nicola Sime-Riley

Nicola Sime-Riley and Fulvic Connoisseur on their lap of honour after winning last year’s Outdoor Grand Prix.

Who are the horses that you’ll be competing on at this years NEF?

Sunny Park Stables Elpaso and Fulvic Connoisseur in the 1.50m.

Tell us about your horses’ personalities?

They are both triers. Elpaso has a lot of personality – he squeals and bucks when he’s having fun. Con can have that ‘wild side’ at times and I call him my wolf in sheep’s clothes. Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth and then all of a sudden he can explode and act like a stallion. He’s such a kind stallion though – he even kisses my five year old daughter at the stables.

How do you prepare in the weeks leading up to a show such as NEF?

I jump a few different tracks and I have a lesson with my coach Gonda the Great.

Tell us about your thoughts on show day?

I like to just enjoy it – it’s just so amazing to be in there and to be able to ride in such a prestigeous event. For these animals that try so hard, I am truly grateful.

What do you love most about the Nissan Easter Festival?

I love the atmosphere and the vibe. It’s a great family show, with lots to do for the kids while the adults do what they want to which is mainly watching horses jump!

How many times have you competed in this show?

Many years now. My very first attempt was on the great Sharp colt and that year I finished tie third, which I was over the moon with – that must’ve been about 10-12 years ago now. For as long as I can remember this has been a show I’ve loved to compete in. My best memory was winning it on each horse: on Elpaso as it was the first big title for both of us, and then Connoisseur – our first big title together. I’ve been very blessed and am truly grateful for having the chance to win it on both of them. They jump their hearts out for me.

What competition do you love most at this show?

The final class – The Nissan SA Outdoor Grand Prix – as it’s the ultimate class with a very testing track.

Who are your favourite horse and rider combinations to watch?

There are so many great combinations all with such talent, so it’s hard for me to say who is my favourite… I love to watch and learn from all of my fellow competitors.

If we played music as you entered the arena, what music do you think your horse would want?

I’ve never ever thought about that. I wouldn’t notice though as by then I am ‘in my zone’ so to say.

Tell us something about you that nobody knows?

I’m not as scary as they all think I am, haha! I am actually a little shy so I come across a little unapproachable maybe.

Text: The PR Machine. Copy edited by HQ.