The US Eventing community bids farewell to eventing legend and 2006 Hall of Fame Inductee, Biko. Biko passed away today, January 29, 2014.
Biko, a large, bay Irish Thoroughbred/Irish Draught gelding (Beau Charmeur – My Hansel) with a lovely white blaze holds the number six spot on the USEA Top Ten All American High Point Horses of the Century, and in 1999 won the Horse of the Century Award from the USEA. He was owned by the late Mr. and Mrs. Richard H Thompson of Malvern, Pennsylvania.
Biko was the stalwart of the U.S. Team in the 1990s with rider Karen O’Connor, and in 1996 helped the U.S. win silver at the Olympic Games in Atlanta. He and O’Connor represented the country on multiple occasions and competed and finished with top placings at the Badminton Horse Trials CCI**** (third, in 1995) and Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (second in 1996 at Advanced, and fifth at the CCI**** in 1998).
During the induction ceremony, O’Connor described Biko: “He had a full brother who competed the Grand National, amazing conformation, beautiful withers–which actually kept me in the saddle most of the time, great shoulder, wonderful length hip to hock. He was an unbelievably good looking horse with impressive size at 17.3. He had an amazing work ethic and loved to be ridden every day, and an unbelievable gallop and incredible brain. A gentle giant.”
The gelding was an ambassador for the sport of eventing and was beloved by children and all who met him. He was retired in 1999 at age 15, and a ceremony was held at the 2001 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. Biko now enjoyed his retirement at the O’Connor farm.
Our hearts go out to all whose lives were touched by this legendary horse.