Ringwood Sky Boy will become the horse with the most top-level cross-country starts at Badminton: here’s how Tim Price keeps the 19-year-old on the road

  • The first combination after the lunch break at Badminton Horse Trials, presented by Mars Equestrian, was New Zealand’s Tim Price and Ringwood Sky Boy. They scored 29.1, which is enough at the current stage of competition to put them into 15th place in the Badminton Horse Trials dressage.

    “I’m really pleased – he’s a highly strung horse although he’s quite senior now but that never changes,” explained Tim after his Badminton Horse Trials dressage test. “Every time he goes into atmospheric ring like that I want him just to try hard and stay relaxed and he pretty much did that.”

    Ringwood Sky Boy, a 19-year-old, owned by Tim, his wife Jonelle and Sophie Hearnden, won Burghley in 2018 and when he starts cross-country at Badminton tomorrow (7 May), he will become the horse with the most ever five-star cross-country starts. The son of Courage made his five-star (then CCI4*) debut at Pau in October 2013, and tomorrow will mark his 18th start at the highest level of eventing.

    “We definitely have a really good system that’s been tried and tested for a number of years in terms of keeping horses sound,” explained Tim when asked about how he has kept this horse on the road for so many years. “But he’s not one I would have predicted to be as sound as he has been – it’s just who he is and I think in a funny way, the fact he’s unusual in the way he does everything is his way of coping with the rigours of the job. So I don’t know if there’s a correlation there, but he’s certainly proving that to be successful.”

    Tim explained how he manages Ringwood Sky Boy in terms of his day-to-day work at home to help keep him sound, happy and competing at the highest level.

    “For me with older horses, it’s more about limbering-type work. I ride him almost more often on a weekly basis than the younger horses, rather than him just going for a hack,” he said. “I do work that helps keep him supple, flexible and just in a nice, happy way. We also pick up on anything that might not be quite right to make sure nothing goes undetected. We owe it to our horses to do right by them and in the later stages of his career, I just try to do my best by him.”

    Read our full Badminton form guide in this week’s issue of Horse & Hound (issue dated 5 May 2022). Our bumper 20-page Badminton report will be in our 12 May issue and keep fully up-to-date with all the action during Badminton week via horseandhound.co.uk, where a host of features and reports will be published.

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...