King Solomon III, Mary King’s Olympic partner, who went on to star in the dressage arena with Paula Lee, has been retired from affiliated competition aged 23.

The Athens medal-winner suffered a bout of lymphangitis this summer– thought to have been triggered by a serious barn fire at Paula’s yard in Nutwell, Devon – which left him with a severely swollen hindleg.

“He is actually sound on his leg, but it is still huge and he is unlikely to be able to return to normal work,” said Paula, who will partner “Solly” in his own special retirement ceremony at the South West Equine Fair on 3-4 December.

“Mary and I thought it would be extremely fitting for him to sign off at his local event.”

In an eventing career spanning 12 years, the 16.3hh gelding by Old Lucky notched up four top-five CCI**** placings, including finishing third at Burghley in 2002 and fourth at Badminton the following year.

With Paula, he frequently graced H&H’s dressage pages with numerous wins up to advanced
medium level.

In 2008 Lucinda Green had the chance to sample Solly’s impeccable manners and “rock and roll” paces when she rode him for a “Lucinda rides” feature.

She said at the time: “In no way does he feel like an older horse. He cannot wait to do extended trot – you only have to think about it and off he goes.”

Solly will spend his retirement with Paula, hacking around the estate at Nutwell.

“He’s back in work and fit and well, still shying at the most mundane things and terrifying everyone who hacks him,” said Paula.

For more on Solly and dealing with lymphangitis, don’t miss next week’s vet exclusive in H&H (10 November).

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse and Hound (3 November, 2011)