1. The death of William Fox Pitt’s former five-star ride Oslo
William has paid tribute to Oslo, who has been put down aged 20. Described as an “exceptional young horse”, Oslo was bought as part of a syndicate as a four-year-old stallion. He was gelded, and won the six-year-old World Championship at Le Lion d’Angers in 2008 and was second in the seven-year-olds the following year. He continued up the levels with multiple wins at top events in 2011, but when he went lame, hopes of the London 2012 Olympics were ruled out. He returned to top-level competition and completed Badminton in 2013, and though he retired in 2017, he returned to lower-level eventing with William’s goddaughter Daisy Dollar during 2018 and 2019. William said Oslo was a “very accomplished all-round horse, who didn’t find anything difficult”.
2. The grand prix horse in a pony’s body
The legendary 21-year-old 128cm jumping pony Bunbury Conquest was in flying form at the English Home Pony International last weekend with his seven-year-old jockey Annabel Widdowson, where the pair’s polished rounds led to victory in the Future mini championship. The Widdowson family currently has Bunbury Conquest on lease to show Annabel the ropes, with plans for the pony to retire when later he returns to his owner Alison Irvine. Annabel’s mother Kathleen said “Questie” looks after her daughter. “He’s a grand prix horse in a pony body. We carefully choose our classes with him and will maybe step up to a bit bigger next year but we’re in no rush – we want fun with no pressure,” she said.
With Bonfire Night just around the corner, many horse owners will be understandably nervous about what the weekend might have in store. Every year H&H reports on serious firework-related incidents involving horses and last week the RSPCA raised concerns that the cancellation of a number of public firework displays owing to rising costs could lead to an increase in private displays. The charity and campaigners continue to lobby the Government for tighter controls and regulations around the sale and use of fireworks, and in Scotland new legislation was passed this year around the introducing a licensing system, but this is still to come into force.
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Credit: Jane Ashmore
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