Review: 'Gold' by Nick Skelton

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An appropriate name for the memoirs of such a decorated man. A man who strived for only the best and wasn’t happy if he didn’t bring home that Gold medal or red rosette. One Olympic gold Individual medal. One Olympic gold team medal. 4 golds, 7 silvers, 7 Bronze from World and European championships from throughout his career, to name only a few as well as all of his other wins from many other competitions. Not to mention being the current World Record holder for the British Show Jumping High Jump (which was set back in 1978) and also being bestowed with a CBE in the 2017 New Years honours list. Not many people won’t have heard the name Nick Skelton and it’s not in many sports that you can have such a successful career spanning over 5 decades. Working with horses is hard work, early mornings and long days, often for pittance whilst taking orders from big egos and quirky personalities. It takes a special kind of someone to be able to maintain such a long career whilst not losing passion for his craft (I mean really, how many of us could tolerate going to work from the crack of dawn until late every day, taking on all manner of work tasks, suffering broken bones and dented ego and still look forward to going to work and seeing what the day will bring). It also takes a lot of guts and determination to rehab from a broken neck sustained during a fall, get back onto a horse and go on to become a double Olympic champion. Whilst Skelton put in a huge amount of work, he also doesn’t deny the part that the horses he rode played. I mean, he wouldn’t be able to ply his trade if he didn’t have a horse to sit on. Granted, someone with his seat and hands could probably ride a 3 legged mule to some sort of success. However, it is the mixture of raw talent, scope, precision and heart, mixed with the right amount of cheekiness and attitude from the horses he was able to ride that he was able to achieve such success. He rode hundreds of horses’ throughout his life (most of which are named in the book - how he remembered them all is a feat in itself!) and all of them sculpted him into the sort of rider he is. Starting out on his very first pony Oxo who was gung-ho and would jump anything, to the amazing Arko who was number one horse in Europe for 3 years running, to the phenomenal Big Star who helped Skelton to his two Olympic Gold medals. Big Star is one of the most revered show jumpers of all times and is ranked up there with the horses of other equestrian disciplines such as Red Rum and Arkle. Even Skelton declares him as the ‘best horse he has ever ridden’. The book will make a great stocking filler for anyone with an interest in sporting achievements, or horses of any sorts. It looks at all of the monumental moments in Skelton’s life, however, it also gives a frank and honest account of some of his less than honourable moments. He is also very quick to thank all of his mentors throughout his life and is very humble, attributing his successes to the people in his life who helped him through their support be it big or small.

'Gold' by Nick Skelton is available to buy from today from all good bookshops. You can buy a copy on Amazon for £13.60 (RRP £20) here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Gold-My-Autobiography-Nick-Skelton/dp/1474607330