WHILE he admits his season to date has been nothing to write home about, Marlborough-based eventer Andrew Nicholson is confident his vast experience will soon see him turn things around as he prepares to tackle Barbury next weekend.
Since arriving in Britain from New Zealand Nicholson has established himself as one of the best equestrian riders in this country, with four Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials victories to his name, including the past two years.
However, this year has so far been a disappointing one for Nicholson although he will be hopeful of a strong showing when Barbury begins on Thursday.
In May Nicholson failed to finish at Badminton International despite riding both Nereo and Quimbo at the prestigious four-star event, while at Kentucky the 52-year-old could only finish 21st aboard Avebury as he attempted to retain the 2013 crown he claimed on Quimbo.
Things improved this weekend as Nicholson recorded three victories at Salperton Park with Cillnabradden Evo, Swallow Springs and Ulises, and the Kiwi admits it is high time he found his feet in the big events.
“The season so far hasn't been good enough really,” said Nicholson. “I made a number of mental mistakes at Badminton including falling off when I shouldn’t have.
“It’s one of those things that happens – the horse was going well, I made a mistake I’ve never made before.
“I wasn't anticipating it but, at the same time, my job is to anticipate these kinds of things and I didn’t.
“That was the big chance and I’ll just have to wait another year but my horse has come out of it fine.
“I’ve done well in all my other competitions but the two big ones, Kentucky and Badminton, haven’t gone to plan.”
But after competing at the top level for so long, Nicholson knows to take the rough with the smooth and believes he knows the route back to winning ways.
“I’ll keep my nose to the grindstone and hopefully things will turn around,” he added.
“It’s sport and I’ve been in it long enough to have been through bad times before but you just have to take these things as they happen.
“That’s probably why I love doing the sport – you never know what’s going to jump out of the woodwork and strike you.
“I’ve had a great couple of years but you’ve got to take your bad times as well and hopefully I’m getting through those and we’ll be back in the winner’s enclosure soon.”