Mary King’s Olympic partner, King Solomon III – who enjoyed a second career in dressage in “retirement” – has been put to sleep at the age of 24.

“Solly” amassed more than 1500 British Eventing points with Mary, notching up four top-five CCI**** placings.

Mary retired him the year after the Athens Olympics – where they won team silver – and gave him to her friend Paula Lee, whose husband farms near the Kings in Devon.

The 16.3hh gelding by Old Lucky continued to appear in the pages of H&H with Paula, as the pair enjoyed many wins up to advanced medium and went to the winter championships three times.

Solly was retired from affiliated competition last year, after suffering a bout of lymphangitis [an inflammation of the lymphatic vessels] which caused a hindleg to swell.

“His leg started swelling again on Monday [17 September] Paula told H&H.

“The vet thinks it was complications arising from the lymphangitis. We didn’t want to get to the stage where he was suffering; he was still quite bright.

“So we gave him one last day and put him down yesterday afternoon [20 September].”

Paula – who also had Mary’s King Boris in retirement – said she had enjoyed “a lovely run” with Solly.

“He was such a character and even in his last year he was still going for the occasional hack,” she said.

“But you couldn’t hack him with any of the youngsters, as he was so naughty!

“He will be very much missed and I can’t thank Mary enough for giving him to me,” she added.

In 2008, Lucinda Green rode Solly for the “Lucinda rides” series in H&H. 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.”

Mary King added: “Dear Solly. I won my first Olympic medal with him and he was the first horse I had to be so consistent [at top level].”