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  • Claire Hubbard of Arioneo

IN THE COMPANY OF NICOLA BUCHANAN, INTERNATIONAL GRAND PRIX DRESSAGE RIDER


Driving through the middle of the New Forest, in the South West of England on a sunny summer Monday morning allows you to catch sight of small herds of New Forest ponies idly wandering over the hills. Then in a second you are back to civilisation and I needed to make sure that I didn’t miss my turn! I was off to meet Nicola Buchanan at her yard near Ringwood on the Hampshire/Dorset border to talk about her career and her use of Orscana.

Turning off the main road into her drive, I was struck with the peace and quiet that suddenly enveloped me. No noise of the road just birds singing and a gentle breeze wafting up the drive. There was Nicola, as always smiling, welcoming me to her lovely yard.

Taking a stroll to her arena again I was struck by the tranquillity. What an arena, I was amazed by the huge wall of mirrors at the far end, she laughingly told me that they were her lifesavers and had helped her no end. I was really struck by the feel of the arena, it was very springy and did not seem to move when walking over it. “It’s from Harvey’s (Nicola’s husband) company equestrian X, he came up with the formula, it’s called xRide” she told me. The surface hadn’t been rolled in over 3 weeks and it basically looked completely flat! I have to admit to feeling rather jealous.

Wandering back past the fields, she explained “These are the horses summer fields. These fields get very boggy in the winter” and then pointed to another 3 fields that were resting, “those are my winter turnouts paddocks.” It is obvious how much her horses love her. Paddy (Half Moon Dark Magic) the second he saw her immediately came to the fence to enquire if there were any polos on offer and if there was a pat and a scratch available for him. Of course, there was! And a few kisses too.

Not to be left out Taylor (St Giles Fairytale) her 6-year-old was making a beeline for the gate. There seemed to be a bit of a swing in her step. I think she knew she had made her Mum proud the previous day winning both her classes at Cholderton with 73.4% in Medium 61 and 71.8% in Medium 76.

As we made our way back to the stables, 5 year old Cosmo (Cosmpolitan St Giles) lazily looked towards the gate. He was under his favourite tree by his prized rolling patch. He had also had a good Sunday competition being a little naughty in his Novice test, then in his Elementary knuckling down and winning his second class with a fabulous 75%. As soon as Nicola went into the paddock he was by her side following her. Nicola laughed “He’s is a cheeky chap, I think he sometimes is too smart for his own good, you should see what he does with his tongue!” Once at the gate Cosmo happily obliged his audience sticking his tongue out, left and right and then making sure he was close enough for Nicola to play with it.

Strolling through the yard, we were suddenly in a lovely country garden. Sitting in the shade under a beautiful apple tree in the garden with a fabulous cup of coffee, Nicola kindly answered my questions.

NICOLA’S INTERVIEW ON HER CAREER AND HER USE OF ORSCANA

Name: Nicola Buchanan

Discipline: Dressage

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR:

There are 2 greatest achievement so far! One was being part of the team in Saumur 2007 on St SwithEn’s and achieving my Great Britain badge. The other, winning the CDI at Hickstead in 2008 on Sancerre. It was Sancerre’s first season in Grand Prix, he was really up and coming. It was just lovely, a really great start to the year with a CDI win.