Royal Windsor Horse Show has announced that 2016 Olympic individual gold medallist Nick Skelton has chosen to officially retire, along with his Olympic horse Big Star, at Royal Windsor Horse Show on Sunday May 14, 2017.
A true legend of the sport, Nick Skelton’s show jumping career has spanned four decades and includes seven Olympic Games and 20 championship medals. Since his first international championship in 1973, Skelton has consistently remained at the top of his game with the ultimate highlight being his most recent success at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, where he secured an individual gold medal with his stallion Big Star.
Skelton has also been credited with one of the greatest comebacks of all time after a fall in 2000 left him with serious injuries, including a broken neck, and forced him into early retirement. However, Skelton defied the odds to recover and made a courageous decision to start competing again. Skelton’s story captured the hearts of those who witnessed his victory at the Olympics, with his emotional gold medal podium moment voted one of the highlights of the Games. The British public showed their support and respect for Skelton’s achievement by voting for him to take third place in the 2016 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
Big Star, owned by Gary and Beverley Widdowson, has been partnered by Skelton since he was purchased as a five-year-old. Big Star has helped Skelton to win two Olympic gold medals, numerous major grand prix titles, and consistently delivered clear rounds for Great Britain in Nations Cup competitions. The 14-year-old stallion will be officially retired on the Sunday of Royal Windsor Horse Show in the Castle Arena in front of HM The Queen.
Royal Windsor Horse Show show director Simon Brooks-Ward spoke of the decision: “Nick Skelton is not only a legend of equestrian sport, but of the whole sporting world. What he has achieved in his career is remarkable and we are honoured he has chosen Royal Windsor Horse Show as the place to officially retire along with Big Star.
“We are delighted that our ticket holders will have the opportunity to be there for this special occasion and we will make sure that both Nick Skelton and Big Star get the send-off they truly deserve.”
Royal Windsor Horse Show will take place from May 10-14, 2017. Over 55,000 visitors are expected to attend the 74th year of Royal Windsor Horse Show which offers an extensive program of first-class equestrian competition and performances in five arenas. Highlights include the newly upgraded CSI5* show jumping, the Land Rover CAIO4* Driving Grand Prix and the CDI4* dressage. Her Majesty The Queen has attended every year since the show started in 1943 and it is the only time of the year that the private grounds of Windsor Castle are open to the public.