Instead of the trek up North to Burghley Ringwood Sky Boy ( Ozzie) found himself being driven South to Devon for the pop up Bicton 5*L. Ozzie doesn’t much like surprises, he likes familiar things like Badminton and Burghley and he wasn’t overly impressed to be jogging up in the woods and not in front of a mansion that was built in the olden days. (Burghley 1555, Badminton 1664.). The main house at Bicton is a relatively modern thing, circa 1800 so we can see why he is a tad confused.
There are just the 34 starters but the event managed to fill a whole days dressage with 10 minutes for each competitors test time which left Horse and Country TV presenters with plenty of time to fill. They gave Ozzie the honour of Classic Moet’s 2018 Badminton win instead of his own Burghley win which is quite the bloop but hey ho, Ozzie is well used to being the underdog.
Jogging up at his 17th 5*L. I mean just read that statistic again. Add in Rio Olympics, a few Nations Cups, a heap of advanced runs and Ozzie suddenly looks like the Duracell bunny. 49 FEI starts, very few non completions, numerous Badminton and Burghleys, a Luhmuhlen and 2 Pau’s. All this from a wild child that nobody wanted and cost just a few thousand quid. In a snub to the ‘perfect vetting world’ Ozzie has a long body, a huge stride, a marathon runners physique, a weak top line and , in Jonelle’s classic Facebook post, ” a front end happy to wear timber” but he has never missed a spring or autumn three day and frequently did three a year before he hit 15.
The Tim and Ozzie story is something that always brings a lump to your throat. Young gun Tim was up for anything, Ozzie wasn’t exactly a rosette winning machine…in fact he only got to stay at Mere because he was unsellable. But like a good wine he matured and now we cant imagine a Mere Farm without Ozzie. Who would ever have forecast that this leggy legend would out compete his contemporaries like Wesko ( Dash) and be facing up to yet another challenge.
He faced them down today with a superb test for a 26.7. He was pretty early to go and led for much of the day and now lies 5th with Pippa Funnell leading on 23.9. The changes at A slightly caught him by surprise… to be fair to Ozzie as Tim’s reserve for Tokyo he has been practising the Olympic test where you go from walk to counter canter at A to I can get his confusion!
This is vintage stuff.. to watch Ozzie go 5 star again tomorrow, with his best buddy in the world Tim. Varenna Allen, I am sure, would have been so proud. Just a couple of boys having some fun.