Nicole Kullen Profile
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Up until 1996, Nicole Kullen was a happy, healthy, energetic teenager determined to succeed in everything she tried; including working towards a future in the equestrian industry.
She competed successfully in a wide range of sports thru to representative level, but horses and riding were what she was most passionate about.
have been around horses all my life (since 1980) and as I’ve
gotten older I’ve made them my life. I’ve been on horseback since I was
18 months old and I’ve never given it up since."
Both her lower legs were amputated & she has limited arm movement & strength, with no function in both hands & wrists. Plus all her internal organs were damaged, which continually cause health complications.
Then, in 2000 Nicole lost all function from both kidneys & now relies on Peritoneal Dialysis four times daily. “My mum, who is also my full-time carer, has to do my dialysis for me as my disabilities prevent me from being able to do this, and many other things, for myself”, Nicole explains.
“Nowadays, I’m much better at walking on my prosthetic legs, which are still quite painful to use, so I can’t walk for very long distances. But I am up and walking and re-building my life with my horses.
I went back to school and finished my Higher School Certificate at Jamison High in 1998, and I also went back to swimming competitively for a while and achieved three Australian National Age Short Course Records in disabled swimming.
Plus I successfully achieved my qualification thru TAFE for Horse Industry Practice & Management, as well as my qualification thru TAFE for Business Administration. I passed both courses with High Distinction Grades.
Unfortunately with being too ill to work, I now use this knowledge to help myself, my horses & other activities I'm involved in, like my photography.
Since getting ill, I’ve slowly managed to be around my horses again, but it’s been a strenuous task, because of my disabilities and health problems. But my love and passion for my horses keeps me going, even when the pain builds up”.
In 2000, Nicole began competing in Dressage competitions with the EFA (Equestrian Federation of Australia) for able-bodied riders, & the RDAA (Riding for the Disabled Assoc. of Australia) for riders with a disability. And as of 2006, Nicole has also begun competing Internationally with the FEI (The Fédération Equestre Internationale)
Nicole has achieved a lot since beginning her dressage career.
Some of Nicole’s dressage achievements include
Winner of 2009 Werribee CPEDI3* Gr1b Champions (WEG Qualifier/Selection event)
Named on the Equestrian Australia 2010 National Para Equestrian Elite Squad
& 2010 World Equestrian Games (WEG) Shadow Team
I'm the current 2009 Equestrian Australia Para Equestrian Gr1b National Champion.
At this event I was also 1 of the 3 riders that made up the NSW Team for
the State Teams event & we won & NSW are now
the 2009 Equestrian Australia Para Equestrian National State Team Champions.
Member of the Equestrian Australia Para-Equestrian National Elite Squad 2009 & 2010
Awarded the NSW Institute of Sport Ian Thorpe/ Grand Slam International – Outstanding Achievement Female Award at the 2008 NSW Institute of Sport Awards Dinner.
In March 2008 - Announced as one of the four Para Equestrians athletes nominated to the Australian Paralympic Committee to represent Australia at the 2008 Paralympics in Hong Kong.
Awarded The Horse Magazine's 'Eqvalan Rider of the Year' for 2007
Becoming the 2005 RDAA Australian National Dressage Champion
Represented Australia at the 2007 FEI World Para Equestrian Dressage Championships in July 2007 held at Hartpury College, United Kingdom. Nicole was one of seven riders who represented Australia at the event. She won a Silver Medal in the Individual Championship, a Bronze Medal in the Individual Freestyle to Music, and a 6th in the Team Test. Nicole was also one of four riders selected to represent Australia in the Teams event, which placed 7th overall. To add to this achievement; Nicole was the only Australian to medal at the event, & the only rider on a borrowed horse to win a medal at the World Championships.
Awarded the prestigious award of
'2005 Equestrian Federation of Australia NSW RDA Rider of the Year'
Represented Australia at 'The First International Combined Festival of Dressage' CPDI4**** International Para Equestrian Competition in Belgium in Sept 2006. This event was also a Paralympic Qualifier event for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. After a very successful event, achieving a 4th, =4th & 6th, Nicole is now qualified for selection for Beijing after achieving the high scores needed.
Selected as part of the Paralympic Preparation Dressage Squad (PPP Squad) in 2006 & been selected & part of the RDAA National Dressage Squad since 2002.
Represented Australia in the Trans Tasman Challenge (Aus vs NZ) which Australia won at the 2005 RDAA Australian National Dressage Championships
Nicole's participation in dressage has been a hard but successful journey so far.
For example; after winning the 2005 RDAA National Dressage Championships, Nicole’s competition horse 'Light Nefarious' was diagnosed with a terminal form of throat cancer. After a long and emotional search for a new horse Nicole finally found the horse of her dreams that will hopefully help her fulfill her future goals.
The Dutch Warmblood ‘Nomination’ was located in Holland, and Nicole tried ‘Nomination’ when over in Holland & Belgium for the CPDI4**** Para Equestrian Event in 2006.
Nicole has since purchased the beautiful 16.3hh bay gelding to try to help towards her preparation of achieving her long & short term goals of success..
“‘Nikshar Nomination’ and I are now in training and working towards gaining selection for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, as well as competing in EFA Dressage events to try to advance myself in the able-bodied field of dressage."
”My selection as part of the Australian team that competed in the CPDI4**** in Belgium & the World Championships in the UK are some of the first major steps along my journey to the top!"
"Training and competing, can be mentally, physically, and financially draining. But I’m extremely excited to see what the future will bring to my horses and I."
"They’re one of the main things that help keep me going and living through this life of mine despite all of the obstacles & pain."
I really hope to do well at Beijing & make my country proud, but most of all I’ll be doing it for my Mum Margaret, as well as my son Kyle, who I was devastated to lose at 5 days old in March 2003.
I almost gave up everything after losing him, but with the loving support of my Mum I eventually got back into riding to try to keep me going & now we’re here so close to Beijing today.
So I’ll be doing it for both my Mum & my son...
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