Olympic champion Nick Skelton has announced that at 59 years old, he is officially retiring from Show Jumping. He also announced that Big Star will be joining him in retirement, and the two together will bid farewell to the fans at a ceremony at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May.
His statement, released through British Show Jumping, reaffirms what Nick had always said about his time in the sport, which is that he would retire at the same time as Big Star.
“It has come to a point, after months of thought and consideration, that myself and my partner Big Star have decided to retire from competition.
“Although there are many people, including my family, Gary and Beverley and my team that were looking forward to us carrying on this year, we feel that Big Star has done everything that a rider could ask and it is time for him to relax and enjoy his stallion duties.
“As for myself, I have always stated that when Big Star was finished I would be as well. This sport has given me more than I could have ever hoped over the past 43 years and it is such a difficult decision to make, but I’m not getting any younger and it is nice for the two of us to end on the highest note possible.
“Thank you to all of the incredible friends and fans for your support, we are truly appreciative and humbled. Thank you to all of my owners and sponsors throughout my career, I couldn’t have done it without you. And lastly, thank you to all of the horses I’ve ridden, you have provided me with opportunities one could never have imagined.”
Big Star had successfully complete events in September and November following his individual Olympic win in Rio, but sustained an injury which Nick referred to as a “twisted joint” which kept him out of the Rolex Grand Slam and London Olympia in December. Nick had said it was a minor injury requiring 6-8 weeks of rest; it’s unclear if this injury or complications thereof were related to Big Star’s retirement. The stallion turns 15 in June.
Nick is leaving the sport on an incomparable high note – he won individual gold in Rio, and was part of the gold medal-winning team at the 2012 Olympics on home soil in London. In his career he also won a World Cup Final in Gothenburg in 1995 aboard Everest Dollar Girl, three team gold medals at the European Championships, and appeared on seven Olympic teams starting in 1988.
We wish Nick and Big Star a very happy and well-deserved retirement, and look forward to their retirement ceremony in a few weeks time.