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said that with horses, there’s always another day. So, if you’re having a bad day and the horse says, ‘I ain’t doing this today,’ there’s always another day,” he says. “I think being around horses is about as close to God


as you can get. They are the most amazing domesticated animal. It never ceases to amaze me what the majes- tic, beautiful, giving animal will do for us. And yet, sadly, some people barely know the name of the horse they ride.” His riding career continued when he was in the British


Army cavalry and was stationed in several countries includ- ing Cyprus, Germany and Northern Ireland, as well as the colony of Hong Kong, an ideal situation for him to continue his love for learning languages. He also added polo to his equestrian ‘bag of tricks.’ When he joined the Territorial Army (equivalent to the U.S. National Guard) he had oppor- tunities to enjoy show and cross-country jumping. Later, he attended the University of Salzburg and traveled through- out the Middle East. Upon returning home, his parents asked him to serve as the announcer for a horse trial they were hosting on their estate. He soon was in demand for international horse shows, including the Burghley Horse Trial where he announced from 1971 until 1989 when he moved to the United States.


A Job He Takes Seriously As an announcer, he takes his responsibility to inform and enlighten seriously, requiring that he know as much about what’s going on at a show as the judges and the manage- ment. In fact, at a CDI, the announcer is actually an official. “I’m a member of the IDOC (International Dressage Officials Club) which keeps me up to date on new rules,” he says. Nicho also needs to stay up to date on the evolving tech- nology at horse shows. For example, there’s a new rule for degree of difficulty in judging freestyles, so (at the CDIs) computer software works out how difficult a movement is in a person’s test. And this year there is quicker scoring at Global Dressage Forum in Florida. “The rider does the final salute and by the time she turns and maybe gets to R or X, I’m announcing the score,” he says. Another responsibility he takes seriously is to ensure the show is running on time and that all is going well. “If I see


a problem, I try to nip it in the bud. I call the organizer on the phone, not the radio, and say ‘do you realize the scribe at B is texting while working?’ No, that hasn’t happened,” he jokes while making his point. “Basically. I’m there to ensure the organizer has a good show and people go home saying it was a good show.” He also feels the needs to bring humor to the dressage


world. “Riders go up centerline and they don’t breathe until the final salute. We should lighten up a little. My father said if your heart goes over the fence, so does your horse. If you’re thinking about the next movement, not a mistake you just made, your horse will relax a little more. They’re the most sensitive domesticated animal on the plant. They can sense if your tummy rumbles.” His rules about humor include to never make inside jokes or jokes about riders, and only say jokes that every- one will understand. He also reviews the horses and riders in each show and will check on the correct pronunciation or the pronunciation that the rider prefers. “I want to get it right,” he stresses. Once, though, the joke was on him. Competitor Lief Aho messaged him in the middle of a show about the correct pronunciation of his last name, a mistake Nicho will never make again. While Nicho is known for ‘getting it right’ and for the


value he brings to the show, he is also known for the impressive music collection he plays during the rides. “I have an eclectic collection. I have a classical and opera which I love, but you have to have upbeat music in the afternoon or people will go to sleep. I have movie sound tracks, big band, light jazz, light rock, heavy rock and guitar music. No Kenny G. Spanish music for Andalusians, Louis Armstrong and big band for Saddlebreds.” As eclectic as his music, so is his life. “Such a gypsy life


we live,” he says as he describes his 2019 schedule. After 12 weeks in Wellington, he will fly back and forth to Califor- nia several times, in between trips to North Carolina and Kentucky, then head off to Oregon. Between all those trips, he returns home to his long-


time partner Melanie Mitchell, as well as his cats, dogs, horses, in Aiken, South Carolina. There he rides the trails around their 60-acre farm, a part of life that keeps him claiming “I’m the luckiest man I know.”


View of the Tryon 2018


World Equestrian Games dressage arena, where


Nicho served as the event’s key announcer and Markus provided the music. Photo by Liz Cornell


Warmbloods Today 25


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