Maria Eilberg has lost her long-term partner, Two Sox – barely two weeks into his retirement.

The 17-year-old Ehrentusch gelding, who was retired by an emotional Maria at the National Championships last month, shattered a pastern while grazing and was put down on Saturday (1 October).

“Ed”, who came to the Eilbergs as an extra horse in a buy-one-get-one-free deal, had been Maria’s partner for nine years. Highlights of his career include team silver at the Europeans in Windsor in 2009 and team silver at World Equestrian Games last year.

The pair were also reserve for the Beijing Olympics.

Maria’s mother, Geri, said the family were “devastated”.

“It is like losing a member of the family – he was such a special horse,” she said.

For more reaction, see this week’s Horse & Hound, out on 6 October.