Carron Nicol comes out on top after a nightmare journey to Spain


What a journey! But after delayed ferries because of the weather, a break-down, fighting a handbag-snatcher and almost hijacked, Carron Nicol won the day and lived to tell the tale of her trip to Mijas.

Carron had set off for the Thursday 8.30am Poole ferry, but was turned away due to bad weather and switched to Dover, eventually arriving in Le Touquet at 8am after a 3am start from home. Already a day behind, they made their next stop to Bordeaux on Friday evening and left early for Toledo on Saturday morning, but one of the horseboxes in the convoy broke down just across the border – and took eight hours to repair.

A decision was then made to drive straight to the show, arriving at Mijas at 1am. However, the sat nav gave the wrong directions up a narrow road, and it appeared almost impossible to turn around in a big lorry.

And then it took a turn for the worse.

“Two Spanish men pulled up behind us in a car and appeared to be trying to help us but couldn’t speak English. One tried to get into the driver’s seat twice until I sat in the seat, and then promptly got in the passenger side, continually using the phone,” said Carron.

“I thought he was trying to find the road that led to the show, but my sister Sanda was suspicious and told my son Leo to get in the lorry with me. The man then tried to grab my handbag, but after a tug-of-war, Leo won!”

Carron demanded the hostile man get out of the lorry and via the phone, Sanda directed Carron to reverse into a narrow gateway.

“Sanda was telling me to hurry as a motorbike had pulled up – the men had phoned for more help to hijack the lorry!” explained Carron. “I turned the lorry round, Sanda jumped in and we sped off, making a lucky escape!”

The Spanish police then gave Carron an escort all the way to the show. And luckily, the horses appeared unperturbed by the ordeal, and all jumped well – Galerius and Moonraker posting the best results with second and third in the six-year-old.

Good luck for the rest of the show, Carron – and buy a good lorry sat nav!

And it appears to be the week for bad luck hitting British riders. After Holly Smith broke her leg in a fall after returning home from Oliva Nova, Tim Stockdale broke his collarbone when trying a potential new horse, and Jemma Kirk suffered a fall in the sea.

After a successful MET I Spring tour in Oliva Nova with wins and a close second in a gold tour 1.45m, Jemma Kirk took a fall when exercising in the sea when her horse tripped.

“We both went head first in the water but I came off worse with a foot in the mouth, minus teeth and a burst lip,” said Jemma on her FaceBook page.

Ever the wit, Geoff Billington quipped – “At least you gargled in salt water straightaway!”

Jemma, who is based in France and a regular at riding in the sea, made a hasty trip back to her native Scotland for a temporary dental repair.

“And now it’s back to work,” she said, on her way back to Spain.

Let’s hope that is the end of a run of bad luck for the Brits. We wish them all success ath their respective shows – and a safe trip home!

Photos © Jumping Around

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