Northallerton eventer Nicola Wilson resumed her glorious partnership with Opposition Buzz at Burghley International Horse Trials last weekend, where the pair finished 11th.
Although the ever competitive Wilson was aiming for a top ten placing, there was no disguising how pleased she was with her horse, known at home as Dodi, who is now 16.
“How can I be disappointed,” said Nicola.
“He is such a special horse who has done so much for my career.
“He gave me a fantastic start to the competition with a great dressage test and to ride a horse that loves his cross-country over such a strong Burghley track, it was a joy.”
Dodi has been at the very top of eventing for seven years.
In that time he has shown a level of such consistency that he has represented Great Britain for the past four years at European and World Eventing Championships.
Last year he and Wilson were part of Team GB’s silver medal joy at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Wilson was looking forward to riding Dodi at Burghley, and at the first veterinary trot-up on Wednesday he showed just how well he was feeling, behaving and looking like a horse half his age.
The dressage phase has never been his true forte, but Dodi wowed the judges by delivering a spectacular performance for a score of 43.3 to leave the combination in ninth place going into the cross-country phase.
Captain Mark Phillips’ cross-country track was a true four-star test, big and twisty with lots to jump.
With his love of going cross-country, Dodi is a perennial crowd favourite, clapped and cheered the whole way round as he showed his usual enthusiasm by eating up the fences.
Despite a few time penalties, the pair stayed in ninth position overnight.
At the customary second veterinary trot up, Dodi showed no ill effects from the previous day’s exertions and strutted his stuff before the ground jury to pass and go forward to the show jumping phase.
The show jumping track caused problems with hardly any clear rounds, including Dodi, who lowered a few poles to finish in 11th place.
Dodi is now enjoying some downtime in his field, before building up to next season.
New Zealand’s bricklayer-rodeorider-turned eventer Jock Paget won the event on Clifton Promise.
It’s the first time a rider has secured both Badminton and Burghley on the same horse in the same year since Ginny Leng on Master Craftsman in 1989. William Fox-Pitt finished fourth on Parklane Hawk.