Army Rider Misses Out On Major Award

The British Army's Major Nicola Rush has missed out on the Horse and Hound's Volunteer of the Year award.

She was shortlisted as a finalist for the award, but lost out to 81-year-old Esme Fordham.

Despite not winning, Major Rush is "honoured" to have been considered.

The 37-year-old military physiotherapist is the secretary of the Army Equestrian Association and paid tribute to the winner.

"It’s such an honour to have been nominated in the first place," she said.

"Not only nominated but on the shortlist for the finalists up against some tough opposition.

"Very different backgrounds.

"Esme who finally won it is working at a horse sanctuary and what she does for injured animals that have been neglected - it’s pretty unbeatable really.

"We’ve all worked hard but I think Esme has done a fantastic job and one that pulls on all our heartstrings.

"Without her, we’d have a lot of animal suffering out there.

"It definitely went to the right person."

Nicola Rush ZOOM interview Credit BFBS 10122020.jpg
Major Nicola Rush is one of the most influential people in Army equestrian and is pleased to see the service team flourishing.

Equestrian was one of the first sports to return after an enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Maj Rush thinks it was the perfect choice for the Army Sport Control Board to make.

She explained: "We were really lucky that we were one of the first five sports to get back to training and competition.

"We’re just fortunate enough that our sport is outdoors and is quite individual.

"We can very easily maintain that social distancing."

The rider also praised Holly Hall who has had a superb year for the Army including impressing at national championships.

She said: "Hickstead is a huge competition and you have an excess of up to 200 competitors.

"You qualify to compete in the main ring.

"I think she came first or second to qualify to compete in the main ring at Hickstead.

"Competing in the main ring at Hickstead is on par with Olympia and to relate it to other sports, it’s like playing rugby at Twickenham Stadium or football at Wembley Stadium.

"It really is a huge stage to compete on.

"[There’s] lots of pressure and lots of spectators.

"Holly was literally competing amongst the professionals so she was absolutely outstanding this year."

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