Nick Skelton has unveiled a talented new ride at the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida.
Untouched, a nine-year-old Westphalian stallion, took Skelton to second place in the $216,000 Ariat Grand Prix CSI 4* behind Eric Lamaze and Check Picobello Z.
"I planned to go as quick as I could and not put the fences at risk because I knew whatever I did, Eric was going to beat me," said Skelton, who finished almost two seconds in arrears in the jump-off. "He is always going to be faster; the only chance I had was if he had one down. That was my only hope I think."
The horse has been gaining experience with Skelton during the winter show, which runs from mid-January to the beginning of April.
"He is really relative low experience at this level, so I am very pleased with him," Skelton said of the stallion, who is by Untouchable. "He has been graduating over the last four weeks and he is getting better all the time."
Skelton has not been competing at the highest levels for the past few years, because his Olympic gold medal-winning partner Big Star has been off work through injury.
Big Star is out in Florida and has jumped in a few classes, but Skelton hopes he should be back competing within a couple of weeks. "Big Star picked up an infection in his leg from a cut, but when I get him back going, I will have two really nice horses," he added.
With the Rio 2016 Olympics looming, Nick will no doubt be hoping his former London 2012 ride will once again be fit and ready for selection.