Tuesday 15 October 2019

My Money: 'A good horse eats - and costs as much - as a bad horse'


Nicola Fitzgibbon
Nicola Fitzgibbon
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Nicola Fitzgibbon is a well-known horse rider and trainer based in Kilteel, Co Kildare. In 2011, at the age of only 23, FitzGibbon was selected for the Irish team which competed for the Aga Khan Trophy at the Dublin Horse Show, one of the most prestigious trophies in the world for team show jumping.

She will soon be bringing one of her horses to Belgium to take part in the World Breeding Federation Championships, which run from September 18 to 22. For more information on FitzGibbon, visit www.nicolafitzgibbon.com.

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What is the most important lesson about money which your career has taught you?

A good horse eats as much as a bad one! So it's important to always be patient in sourcing horses and to be willing to spend the extra on one that looks that bit more talented. Otherwise it's easy to end up with a horse that you know isn't just good enough - and having to spend as much to produce it as you would a better one.

The best advice you ever got about money?

You never go broke taking a profit! Experience gave me that advice. It's easy to get carried away by thinking that the horse you're selling is going to be the next superstar and to want to hang on to it for that bit longer. However, by the time you pay the costs of keeping the horse for a couple of years to find out it's not a top one, you'd have been much better off taking that offer for the horse in the first year or two that you had it.

What is the biggest financial challenge you have faced in show jumping?

As a rider, it would be sourcing really nice horses for prices that aren't astronomical. There is a huge demand for quality show jumping horses at the moment, so everybody is looking for the same thing. They can be found - but it takes patience.

What is the most expensive country you have ever visited?

I think Norway was the most expensive country I've visited. At the time, a beer in a regular bar was €12.

What's your favourite Irish coin?

No surprises here - the old 20p coin. I would always admire the perfect proportions of the horse.

Apart from property, what is the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

My horse truck. It carries six horses, all of their gear and has space for three humans to live in there as well. It's like a house with stables on wheels.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

Buying into a horse I didn't believe in from the beginning. Always trust your gut feeling.

What was your best financial killing?

Turning an owner's very difficult and moderately successful horse into a six-figure sale within the space of 12 months.

Are you better off than your parents?

My mum had a great business brain - she and my father started out with very little and made a comfortable life for themselves. I'm certainly fortunate to be in a better position than my mum was at my age. I aim to emulate her success in life.

If you won the Euromillions, what would you do with the money?

I'd buy some nice horses and finish all the upgrades at home. I'd also invest, donate and look after my friends and family.

Have you ever made an insurance claim?

Several - my phone and I have a love-hate relationship! My current phone is on its eighth screen. Needless to say, there came a point where the insurance company put its foot down.

What was the last thing you bought online?

More contact lenses.

Would you buy Irish property now?

No. As my friends would say, there's a feel of 2006 around, so property would be pretty low on my list of investments right now.

What three things would you not be able to do without if you were tightening your belt?

The only things I feel I couldn't live without are good food and spending good times with good people.

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