After a fantastic dressage test that earned them a mark of 44.0 penalties, which was a personal best in this phase for Opposition Buzz, it left the combination in twelfth place going into cross-country day.
It was a joy to watch as both Nicola and Opposition Buzz were foot perfect around a big and technical track and were only one of six combinations to go inside the time, which moved them up the leaderboard to third place going into the final showjumping phase.
The rigours of the day before, certainly hadn't taken anything out of Opposition Buzz, as he was rather excited and strong and did not give Nicola an easy ride at all, and with one show jump fence down, it dropped them to a final seventh place.
Nicola says, " Although I am slightly disappointed with the final result, if someone had told me earlier in the week that we would be awarded a dressage mark of 44.0 to lie twelfth going into the cross-country phase, I wouldn't have believed it. As ever, he was a privilege to ride across country and we were just that bit unlucky in the show jumping. However, we have achieved our Olympic qualification for next year and I will continue to build towards that".
Nicola also rode Bee Diplomatic, a half brother to Opposition Buzz, both bred and owned by Rosemary Search. After a slightly tense dressage test, he was giving Nicola a fabulous ride on the cross-country phase, when he banged his stifle on the second corner of The Farmyard complex and Nicola took the decision to retire him from the competition. He is absolutely fine and will be out competing again in the very near future.
"I would like to thank all my owners and sponsors for their incredible support, says Nicola, without them I wouldn't be able to ride and compete at the level I do".
photos Janos Schmidt