SEVERAL extremely high-profile events feature on Northallerton star Nicola Wilson’s 2016 agenda.
The Rio Olympics is hopefully top of the pile and preparations will begin in earnest at Fontainebleau in March. Badminton and Luhmuhlen are other important dates on the Northallerton rider’s agenda.
And of course Bramham’s CCI three-star – lower profile than the Olympics but a “box that needs to be ticked” in the eyes of the Yorkshire-based world no 12.
Wilson is crossing her fingers and toes to be one of four riders selected to represent Team GB’s eventing team in this Summer’s Olympic Games in Rio. Four years after helping GB to a team silver on the much-missed Opposition Buzz at London 2012, Wilson looks well placed as British champion and the third highest rider in the world rankings, behind only William Fox-Pitt and Kitty King.
Huddersfield’s Oliver Townend sits one place below Wilson as world no 14 and fourth highest British rider. All roads hopefully lead to Rio – but there are several other important dates on Wilson’s agenda – events that will hopefully with both selection and preparation for Rio – and one horse trials in particular that has sentimental value.
Wilson landed her maiden win at her local Bramham Horse Trials last year when Annie Clover bagged the CIC three-star event – and this year the flagship CCI is very much part of her plans. Wilson’s One Two Many, Annie Clover and Bulana have already fulfilled the qualifying criteria required for the Olympic Games and the rider told The Yorkshire Post: “We’re hoping to take One Two Many to Badminton and Bulana is hopefully going to do the CCI three star at Bramham.
“And Annie Clover is going to do the four star at Luhmuhlen.
“We are obviously going to have preparation before that and One Two Many and Bulana are starting their campaigns early in Fontainebleau in France at the end of March. That will be a key event for setting the tone for the ranking season.”
Bramham is an important part of that season and Wilson said of the event’s CCI three-star: “It’s certainly one of those boxes that needs to be ticked if it all possible! We’ll certainly be trying hard, there’s no doubt about that.”
No doubt either that Wilson approaches the forthcoming season in fine form – with a best ever world ranking.
The Yorkshire rider is now on the periphery of the world’s top ten but said: “It’s obviously lovely to be ranked a personal best in the world rankings for me but I really do just focus on the horses that I’m working with and producing the best results that myself and my horses can and keeping them safe, sound and happy.”
The rider cannot fail to be happy when reflecting on her 2015, which featured another silver medal for Team GB on One Two Many at the European Championships at Blair Castle in Scotland. All this in light of breaking her collarbone this time last year.
“It was fantastic,” said Wilson, reflecting on 2015.
“I started the season with a broken collarbone but then had two top-10 placings at four-star – one at Badminton and also at the Rolex in America.
“Then there was winning at Bramham and then being crowned British national champion and also helping Britain to team silver at the European Championships.
“To then round the season off with a young horse in Bulana winning the CCI three-star at Boekelo which is the same level of competition as Bramham was just a fantastic way to end the season. We start the season fit and well and we just have to see what happens and hopefully ride the rollercoaster. Obviously it was tremendous being part of the fantastic Olympics in 2012. Since then my thoughts have always been towards Rio.”