Hartpury University Centre graduate Astier Nicolas is ready to kick off the Rio action this weekend as part of the French eventing squad with his horse Piaf De Bneville.
A former BSc (Hons) Equine Management student, Nicolas was part of the Hartpury Equine Academy, enabling him to combine university study and top level riding. He is now based in Wiltshire as a professional eventer competing on the international circuit.
After being part of the bronze medal winning team at the 2013 European Championships in Malmö the pair also claimed the top spot at Pau CCI4* last year, making Astier the youngest rider to win a CCI4* event in 2015. These results put them in perfect position for team contention with their selection confirmed last month.
As the final countdown to the games begin with the opening ceremony on Friday, the horses and riders are settling in to their Rio accommodation after their 12-hour flight and getting ready to compete at the biggest sporting event in the world.
Hartpury’s Vice Principal Higher Education, Rosie Scott-Ward, said: “Astier combined academic study with the highest level of competition – utilising the support of his academic tutors he managed to achieve in both spheres.
He was a talented rider who clearly had immense potential and it is fabulous to see him achieve it as part of the French team. We wish him the best of luck for the Olympics and will be watching very closely!”