Nikki, who is based in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire and works for Mars Horsecare, who manufacture Spillers horse Feeds as the Trade Sales Manager will be contesting the BE100 at Badminton Estate in May.
This isn’t the pairs first time riding in the renowned competition, in 2016 Nikki and Tilly were placed fifth in the BE90.
“It was a real dream come true for me and to have my name called out over the loudspeaker by the late, legendary Mike Tucker was surreal. I only had one Regional Final that year and when I found out I had qualified I remember thinking ‘how did this happen?’” Laughs Nikki.
“Last season we ran into some difficulties. Tilly developed a pollen allergy which caused her to have some breathing problems, so we only managed to get to a couple of events. I count myself very lucky to have the opportunity to compete in the Mitsubishi Motors Cup again this year.”
Tilly, like most mares, has her own personalities which Nikki describes as her ‘just knowing what she likes.’
“Tilly’s sire is the renowned Jumbo and her dam is a Shire cross Thoroughbred so she is a bit of a Heinz 57! We have a real understanding of each other now and I am used to all her little quirks. She is at her best when she’s in work and is happy to let most people ride her, including my six year old son! It seems her party trick is jumping in and out of fields, especially if her routine changes. Once we doubled up on electric fencing to try and keep her in her field but she still hopped out, dong a beautiful bounce over both fences!,” comments Nikki.
Working for Spillers Horse Feeds full time, Nikki has a busy schedule which often sees her getting up early in the morning to ride before work. Nikki also balances work and horses with raising her two boys, Josh and Ollie.
“I try to get in as much time with the boys as I possibly can. On the days I have lessons in the evening, we have our family time before I go and ride,” explains Nikki. “My husband, Shane is also very supportive, so we work well as a team – most of the time! and it is worth it in the end, when you feel all the early mornings and late nights makes dreams like these become reality.”
With the recent bad weather, as like many others, Nikki and Tilly have unfortunately not had the best start to the season with a number of events cancelled, but this hasn’t dampened the duo’s spirits.
“It was a bit of shock to the system when the alarm went off at 4:00am on the morning of my arena eventing competition. The early morning start was definitely worth it though, we placed sixth overall. I had a double clear in the show jumping and cross country elements but picked up a few time faults due to rider sat-nav error,” laughs Nikki.
“Getting the chance to ride at such an event as the Mitsubishi Motors Cup is a fantastic experience. It was quite emotional in 2016. My mum sadly passed away a few years ago and she helped me start Tilly, we worked together with her and she will always be my inspiration. Riding the cross country course and feeling that all the hard worked had paid off filled me with so much emotion. I was lucky enough to have so many of my friends and family there, cheering me on and I can’t wait to go back and do it all again,” concludes Nikki.