Nicola Sime has, undoubtedly, become a house hold name in South African show jumping circles. She has featured in the line ups of all of South African’s top show jumping events and holds numerous amounts of accolades. Her riding career began at the age of 5 and when she turned 14 shared her first horse ‘Foxy’ with her sister Katie.
Her competitive career started later than most, at the age of 15, but the turning point was when Nicola began tuition at the age of 19 with the legendary Gonda Betrix – one of South Africa’s greatest show jumping super stars. It was around this time that Sharp Colt entered the picture.
Fondly known as Blade, this plucky and somewhat naughty thoroughbred gelding was only 4 years old when Nicola took him on. Together, the pair rose through the ranks and became a formidable team. Blade entered the International show jumping level and held his own against purpose bred imported show jumpers. The pair won The President’s Cup in 2005, 2007 and 2008. They were the 2006 Indoor Grand Prix of South Africa champions and clinched the win in PE at the 2008 World Cup Qualifier. In 2005 Nicola was one of 5 riders who qualified to ride in the World equestrian Games.
2009 was a dark year for Nicola when her best friend died on February 16th. Blade broke his leg in the paddock. Whispers of Nicola being a “one horse wonder” floated around but her tenacity, talent and dedication proved them wrong. So many riders have only one horse that they are able to jump at the highest level, many do not even produce these horses but purchase them as “going” jumpers – as riding and producing youngsters is no easy task. Nicola was up for the challenge – she produced two more young horses to the International level. Sunny Park Stables’ Connoisseur and Sunny Park Stables’ Elpaso feature in all the international level line ups and continue to follow in Blade’s “hoof prints” – currently being two of the best show jumping horses in the country. Nicola continues, year after year, to feature in the top 10 South African show jumping rankings.
She has many other horses jumping in the open level with more youngsters working their way up the ranks. Many of her pupils also compete at open level and Nicola was instrumental in finding and producing their mounts. This talented rider is also an extremely talented coach and has built a reputation for mentoring formidable competitors in the ring.
Nicola is currently an International Level 3 and FEI Level 2 coach as well as a National Equitation judge.