WEST Sussex rider, Nicola Braidwood, from Rusper, has received a prestigious National Award with her ex racehorse, Vite Etoile. Nicola was presented recently with the South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB) and Retraining of Racehorses’ (ROR) Elite Performance Award for Show Jumping.
The awards were held at the Breeders Dinner and Awards Ceremony organised by the British Horse Foundation at the Grange Hotel, The leading equine insurance brokers SEIB are enthusiastic sponsors of these valuable awards, with a strong company ethosfor putting something back into the equestrian world.
The Elite Performance Awards for Showjumping offer a valuable prize fund of £2,500 to the winner and £500 to the runner up, donated by RoR. The awards provide a focus for ex-racehorses competing in the disciplines of Eventing, Dressage, Show Jumping, Endurance and Showing and have encouraged more riders to recognize the talents and versatility of the thoroughbred and their potential for success in another sphere.
Nicola bought her mare, Vite Etoile, now 21, from the sales as a four-year-old, after the mare had been campaigned on the flat and over hurdles by trainer Ron Hodges.
She said: “I bought this bay mare on a whim and to be honest for a snip of her real value and took her home to retrain. Vite’s new life started over coloured poles, show jumping during the indoor season, I guess her first affiliated class would have been a British Novice at some where local and she took to her new profession with great enthusiasm.
Nicola then retrained Vite Etoile as an eventer and competed her very successfully. Vite’s Eventing career peaked between 2001 and 2004, with success at Weston Park CCI where she was eighth, and also completed Windsor CCI , Gatcombe Intermediate Championships and Bramham to advanced level and the pair completed the three star Bramham three day event. However, after Bramham, Vite Etoile had to have colic surgery and whilst she subsequently competed at two star level. Nicola never did the top level events with her again.
Nicola said “She is such an enthusiastic horse. She only competes in show jumping now, but she loves it. Vite Etoile hates to be left behind if we go to a show - I don’t think she will ever retire!”