Towards the end of 2016 Horse & Hound asked the 20-time champion jockey AP McCoy if he might come out of retirement to try his hand at showjumping. And to tempt him, we lined up a very special horse for him to ride — Nick Skelton’s Olympic gold medal-winning partner, Big Star.
You can find out exactly how AP and Big Star got on over the coloured fences in 29 December, 2016 issue of Horse & Hound, but we reckon the Grand National-winning jockey may well have found a new career.
“He’s a very cool beast. I’m buzzing!” said AP afterwards.
“Get yourself a jacket and a pair of boots, there’s a new job for you in showjumping,” said Nick Skelton, who was on-hand to put this new partnership through their paces.
The idea for the feature came from an Injured Jockeys Fund charity evening where host Clare Balding suggested, slightly tongue in cheek, that AP McCoy would enjoy the sport of showjumping as a new venture, now that he’s hung up his racing boots. Horse & Hound’s Showjumping Editor Jennifer Donald decided to put the wheels in motion.
“I thought it was a brilliant suggestion from Clare and, although AP didn’t seem too keen on the idea on the night, I suspected he wouldn’t be able to resist the opportunity to do it on a really top class horse — which is why Big Star immediately sprung to mind,” said Jennifer.
Nick needed very little persuading to let AP ‘have a go’ on his multi-million pound horse — Nick has a huge amount of respect for AP as a horseman and Big Star’s owners were happy to go along with it, too, and for that we are very grateful.
Don’t miss our exclusive feature in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine (29 December 2016), where AP McCoy gives his account of riding the Olympic showjumping gold-medallist Big Star