Nikki & Blair Richardson

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Blair and I run an equestrian property, ‘Vantage Hill’, which backs on to the Scone racecourse in the Hunter Valley of NSW. We have about 80 acres and on average have around 30 – 45 horses in at any one time. The horses are mainly thoroughbreds to break in and pre train and it is that side of the business that gives us our income. But eventing is really what we both love to do and it was through eventing that we actually met.

Nikki

I was born and grew up (the youngest of five children) on my family’s cattle property in Scone. We mustered the cattle on horseback and mum, who evented at lower level, took us to Pony Club. Mum and dad had always bred their own horses and dad played a bit of polo on the better ones, who were then eventually handed down to us. We didn’t really get into eventing until my brother, Gordon (Bishop) who was eight years older than me, went off to Lochinvar to train with Heath and with Heath’s enthusiasm that everyone could win a gold medal I suppose it just filtered through.

I went to a boarding school in Sydney during my high school years but couldn’t wait to get back to Scone. I was fed up of Sydney life and studying and what started off as a ‘year out’ has become my life. As soon as I finished school I got stuck into riding Shampoo (Wishful Thinking) and from there I never looked back. I can remember going to my first 3DE at Melbourne back in 1992 where I came second to Matt Ryan in the CCI*. Matt had just won two gold medals at the Barcelona Olympics and that was it … I was determined that this was what I wanted to do.

Four years later I was part of the team for the Atlanta Olympics, which was a dream come true. Since that time I have had various good horses including Wishful Dreaming who finished fourth at Adelaide CCI4* in 2002 and with the horses I have today I continue to work towards achieving that amazing relationship I had with Shampoo.

Blair

I grew up in New Plymouth on the North Island of New Zealand. Dad trained a few trotter and like Nikki I did Pony Club and I also worked with dad a bit on the trotters. As I started to get interested in eventing I decided to head over to England to see what the sport was like over there and spent a few months grooming for Andrew Nicholson. That was a really good time and I learnt a lot.

While I was there I met a lady called Ruth McMullen who was a top trainer of event riders and had worked with the likes of Pippa Funnell. I asked Ruth if there might be a job for me but she just laughed saying ‘people pay me to come here with their horses and work.’ Not quite what I had in mind.

So I came home to New Zealand but a while later I got a phone call from Ruth to say I could come to her yard so I jumped at the chance. I spent three years with her and during that time I rode a horse called Metronome, who I rode into third place at Bramham in the Young Riders Championships. From there I made it on to the British Young Rider team (dad’s British) and went to the Young Rider European Championships in Austria in 1996. Over the next year Ruth started to wind down her business and I looked for another job, but it didn’t work out and I ended up coming home. It was around that time that I first met Nikki.

Nikki

Blair was spending some time with his good friend Mathew Bates and the two of them went to Goulburn Horse Trials in NSW. That’s where we first met. I can remember him saying something like ‘if I come back to Australia would you consider going out with me?’ I thought I was fairly safe because he wasn’t going to come over to Australia from New Zealand just to see me … but he did and that was that.

I now spend my days riding my event horses, doing the book work for the business and doing whatever needs to be done at home or at school with our two boys, Oscar (nearly nine) and Charlie (nearly seven). The boys don’t like anything to do with horses and would much rather spend time on their motor bikes. Blair spends his day riding breakers and pre trainers in the morning and then swaps onto the eventer in the afternoon.

Life’s pretty busy but pretty good and although I’m not convinced our blos will be interesting to any

 

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