Eventer Harry Meade told H&H he is devastated by the error of judgement that led to him being disqualified from the weekend’s Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials (3-6 September) for “riding an exhausted horse”.

Mr Meade’s ride Dunauger, who was clearly tiring as he came into the jump, became breached on fence 19b (Capability’s Classic).

Mr Meade, 26, said: “[To carry on] was a decision made in the heat of the moment and I desperately regret it now.”

Mary King and Apache Sauce were held up for 30 minutes part-way round the course while officials freed the horse.

Mr Meade and the dun gelding were uninjured, but the ground jury and technical delegate Giuseppe Della Chiesa ruled the horse should have been pulled up earlier.

The Wiltshire-based rider was disqualified under International Equestrian Federation (FEI) rules.

Mr Della Chiesa said: “We disqualified Harry from the competition, but took no further action. He completely accepted the decision.”

The ruling meant Mr Meade could not ride his more experienced eventer Midnight Dazzler (pictured), but he hopes to compete him at Pau (21-25 October).

He said: “Dunauger is very strong and fit and was going very well, then went out like a light. Because he was so fit, I thought I could nurse him home. I’m so relieved he is not hurt.”

A blood test taken later showed the horse had “tied up” — a muscular contraction caused by lactic acid.

Mr Meade took over the ride on the 12-year-old this season from owner Tracy Garside and this was the pair’s first three-day event together.

Dunauger is now on holiday with Ms Garside but Mr Meade hopes to event him next year.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (10 September, ’09)