Northallerton’s Nicola Wilson paid tribute to Olympic hero Opposition Buzz after fighting back the tears on her superstar’s last competitive outing at Allerton Park.
The top-class 17-year-old eventing ace was denied the fairytale finale in the Knaresborough event’s Advanced section when pipped into second by Mark Kyle on board Jemilla.
But two days after announcing that the Allerton Park Horse Trials would be Opposition Buzz’s last slice of competitive action, Wilson and owner Rosemary Search were both moved to tears after the final chapter for a globe-trotting horse of a lifetime.
A large crowd cheered and applauded Wilson and the horse known as Dodi all the way around Allerton Park’s cross-country circuit and an emotional Wilson revealed afterwards that she had difficulty sighting the last couple of fences due to tears.
After unsaddling her London 2012 silver medal winner for the final time, a teary Wilson said: “Just towards the end, I started hearing the commentary and it was quite emotional. It’s very emotional but what a fantastic horse – and what a privilege it has been to ride him. I just so desperately wanted to do the right thing for him.
“He’s had an amazing year and what a lovely way to finish – here in Yorkshire for a Yorkshire-bred horse.”
Emotions were also running high in Portugal at the weekend as York’s Holly Woodhead bagged an individual silver at the FEI 2014 Young Rider European Championships.
Partnering Ian Woodhead and Heidi Woodhead’s DHI Lupison, Woodhead was only denied gold by two penalties behind Germany’s Charlotte Hackmeister on board Kassio.
Woodhead’s efforts also helped her Askham Bryan College-sponsored Great Britain team clinch the bronze medal behind gold medallists Ireland and runners-up Germany.