Oldest horse takes lead in Bicton five-star dressage: ‘I’m super proud; his anxiety sits close to the surface’

  • Tim Price has taken the lead in the Chedington Bicton Horse Trials dressage for this week’s five-star competition.

    Riding his own, Varenna Allen and Robert Taylor’s 18-year-old Ringwood Sky Boy, the oldest horse in the competition, Tim scored 26.7.

    Ringwood Sky Boy’s only real mistake was failing to stand still in the first halt, but after that his marks were all strong, including two nines from Seppo Laine for the mid-test halt and rein-back.

    “I thought he was great. I’m just super, super proud of him, because he’s not a dressage horse and over the years he’s learnt to work with it and to try and enjoy it a little bit, and he almost stood still three times so that was great,” said Tim, who is riding the horse in his 18th five-star here.

    “It’s not a given with him because his anxiety sits quite close to the surface, but he’s a senior man now and I think he’s learned how to deal with who he is, and so he really does try.

    “It used to just be exertion and effort and trying for me and just one way, which was to throw himself to the other side of a jump – whether it was a big five-star fence or whether it was a showjump that he wasn’t supposed to touch. He’s been able to refine that desire to please and to be the whole package for this job, so I’m super proud of him as horse. He’s a credit to himself.”

    William Fox-Pitt has moved into second in the Bicton Horse Trials dressage after scoring 27 for his smooth test with the syndicate-owned Oratorio II, who is by Oslo, on whom William won Pau five-star.

    “Maybe it was a little bit dull to get a low 20s, but I thought he really did his best. I was thrilled with him, and I was really thrilled I went the right way, because I’ve never done that test before. The brain doesn’t always work these days, so you never quite know when it’s going to let you down,” said William.

    The rider said this test was better than the one Oratorio did at Kentucky in the spring.

    Willliam commented: “Chris [Bartle] gave me some comments on that and seeing all the videos was really useful. I’ve worked on having a little bit more expression.

    “He didn’t get loads of good marks, but he certainly gave me a really good feeling and felt very rideable and I can always say I should have ridden a bit more. Some horses have been quite tense in there and he was actually very cool. I was very pleased with him because it’s quite isolated in the arena. There’s no atmosphere, but they’re certainly on a stage.”

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