“I really felt he set off well, though I thought quite early on he was lacking a little bit of his usual power,” William told H&H. “I thought it was me imagining it, I thought, ‘Come on, you know how fit and well he is’.
“I carried on through the main arena, but jumped the next couple, thinking, ‘Where’s your engine?’. Then I thought, ‘You know what, he’s a nice horse, something’s not right, there’s six more minutes to go, forget it.’ I thought there was too much ahead to do so I pulled up.
“When I got off noticed he had a bleed and obviously that was what had stopped him from feeling right.”
William said this was the first time he’d ever ridden a horse who had a nosebleed on the cross-country.
Bicton Horse Trials: William Fox-Pitt on Oratorio’s condition today
“He’s all fine now – these things do happen and there’s nothing to say he should do it again,” said William, who kept Oratorio at Bicton overnight after cross-country so he could have some time to clear his airways and so he could be examined by British team vet Liz Brown this morning before travelling home.
He added: “Tomorrow we’ll do some more tests – we’ll scope him to look down into his lungs and see if there’s anything there that caused it and take blood tests in case he’s got some sort of virus.
“We’ll know more after we examine him, but there’s nothing to suggest it wasn’t just a freaky thing and we might never know why it happened. He’s shown no signs of virus or cough or cold so we’re slightly perplexed.”
William says he will have a meeting with Oratorio’s “very understanding” syndicate of owners after the vet has examined the horse and decide whether to “divert to Pau or call it a day” for the year.
“Hopefully he’ll fight another day,” said William.
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