Top British showjumping horse Oz De Breve will stay in the UK after being bought from Laura and John Renwick by prominent owner Lord Harris.
Lord Harris, who last year bought Unique IX from Anna Edwards for Tina Fletcher to ride has bought Oz De Breve in partnership with Lord and Lady Kirkham, specifically to keep the horse in the country.
“We want to strengthen British teams — it is vital we stay in the top tier of the Nations Cup league in preparation for 2012,” said Lord Harris.
“We are determined to do all we can to win a gold medal in London. We want to build up a good team to be able to go anywhere in the world and stand a good chance.”
Laura, who has owned Oz De Breve since he was three, told H&H she was “over the moon”.
“The horse’s achievements last year were extremely high for an eight-year-old and he’s proved himself. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity to go further this year,” she said.
Laura added that she had been “inundated” with offers for the horse at Olympia, from as far afield as America.
“I would have been heartbroken, but finances dictate. We would have had to have sold him abroad if Lord Harris hadn’t stepped in. It’s amazing to keep the ride and an unbelievable opportunity — hopefully we can go all the way to the Olympics,” she said.
British Showjumping’s performance manager Rob Hoekstra is thrilled.
“One of my aims was to get owners on side for 2012 — to buy and keep the best horses in the country — so it’s win-win for everyone. We will now make a plan for the horse — to prepare for the season working towards a team place.”
Lord Harris added that he’s also looking for another horse for both Laura and Tina.
“We feel we now have three horses capable of jumping an Olympic track [Oz De Breve, Hello Unique and Tina’s other ride Hello Sailor]. Tina now has two horses — one to rest and one to jump — and none of us knows which is the best yet.”
This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (27 January, 2011)