Blyth Tait’s former Olympic gold medallist Ready Teddy has died of complications resulting from a bout of colic, aged 23.

“It’s very sad, but he had seven great years of retirement,” said Blyth. “He was chirpy up to the last and still sound. He meant so much to me because he gave so much, and was such a great character.”

Ready Teddy is the only eventer to have won both an Olympic individual gold medal — at Atlanta in 1996 as an eight-year-old — and the individual world championships, in Pratoni Del Vivaro in 1998.

Blyth’s father spotted Ready Teady, who was by the thoroughbred Brilliant Invader and raced as a youngster under the name Striking Back, at a Pony Club training event in New Zealand. He bought him for NZ$5,000 (about £1,800 then) and sent him over to England to Blyth in the autumn of 1994.

As well as his two championship wins, Ready Teddy took top spot at Burghley in 2001. He was also Blyth’s mount at his last Olympics before his retirement, Athens in 2004, where they finished 18th.

Blyth has recently announced a comeback to eventing targeted at the 2012 Olympics. Read our interview with him in H&H next week, 5 May issue.