Profile: Nick Skelton
- Published: 29/09/2016
- Updated: 18/12/2016
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Date of Birth: 30/12/1957
Birthplace: Bedworth, Warwickshire
Height: 1.75 m / 5′ 9″
Career: 1974 – Present
Nicholas David Skelton, OBE is a world-renowned show jumping rider whose career has spanned nearly 38 years. He has won thousands of classes and hundreds of Grand Prix’ events as well as over £6.5m in prize money.
He began riding aged 18 months when he got his first pony, a Welsh Mountain called Oxo who was born in the same year as Skelton and lived to be 39. Both Skelton’s children learnt to ride on Oxo!
Skelton had plenty of early success with a horse called Maybe, but he went lame just before the Junior European Championships in 1975 and his place in the team looked lost. However, O.K a reputedly ordinary horse was substituted and Skelton won individual gold.
He has competed numerous times at the European Show Jumping Championships, winning three golds, three silvers and three bronzes both individually and with the British team. In 1980 he competed in the Alternative Olympics where he helped the British team to a silver medal.
Skelton broke his neck in September 2000 which could have ended his show jumping career, but after retiring in 2001 he recovered and began competing again in 2002. Skelton returned to the saddle to partner Arko III, a horse he had been riding as a youngster before breaking his neck. Together Skelton and Arko won the British Open title in 2004 at the British Open Show Jumping Championships and many other top prizes.
In 2012, at the age of 54, Skelton won the Olympic gold medal as part of the Great Britain team. In 2016, at the age of 58, Skelton won the Individual Olympic gold medal at his seventh Olympic Games.
He has two sons, both are active in horse racing. Daniel is a National Hunt Trainer and Harry is a National Hunt Jockey who in 2009 became the youngest winner of The Irish Grand National on Niche Market.
1974 European Championships – Team Silver medal
1975 European Championships Team Silver medal and individual Gold medal
1985 /1989 European Championships – Team Gold medal
1995 Volvo World Cup Final Winner
1987 / 1988 / 1989 Hickstead Derby Winner
1984 / 1993 / 1996 / 1999 King George V Gold Cup Winner
2012 Olympic Games – Team Gold medal
2016 Olympic Games – Individual Gold medal
Skelton’s autobiography is called “Only Falls And Horses”.
He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to equestrian sport.
Skelton currently holds the British Show Jumping High Jump record, at 7 ft 7in 5/16th (2.32m) set at Olympia in 1978 with Lastic.