Flim Flam, a former American Olympic dressage horse, was put down last week after suffering from a ruptured stomach.

The 17-year-old German-bred 16.1 bay gelding was relaxing in the field when he first showed signs of colic. He was taken to Palm Beach Equine in Wellington, Florida, last Thursday, but surgeons discovered his stomach had ruptured and euthanised him on the operating table.

“Flim was the horse of a lifetime for me,” says his former rider, Sue Blinks. “I am an incredibly lucky person to have shared a career with a horse of such talent and personality. He was extremely happy during his short and well-deserved retirement; it is so very sad that he didn’t get to enjoy it longer.”

Flim Flam, who was owned by Fritz Kundrun, had retired in the summer after a successful international career. Ridden by Blinks, he was part of the American dressage team that won the silver medal at the 2002 World Equestrian Games in Jerez and the bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

Blinks and Flim Flam, who finished eighth individually at the Sydney Olympics, also took part in the 1998 World Equestrian Games in Rome. It was their first major international competition and they were placed 12th individually and fourth as part of the American team.

“Over the years, Flim Flam and Sue [Blinks] were such an important part of our growing success in international dressage,” says Bonnie Jenkins of the United States Equestrian Federation. “We will all miss him and send our condolences to Sue and Fritz [Kundrun] in the loss of a great friend.”