Chris Stone’s Chilli Morning was produced by Nick Gauntlett and Mary took on the chestnut at the start of this season.
Last year’s world number one led the dressage in advanced section N at Belton Horse Trials last weekend on Chilli Morning, but was eliminated for three refusals across country (they are pictured at Belton before their elimination).
“He’s a top-class horse, but he’s not the right horse for me,” Mary told H&H. “I’m not strong enough to ride him without a stronger bit, but he’s used to a soft bit and a strong man and he doesn’t like a stronger bit. That’s what went wrong at Belton.
“Even showjumping I find it really hard to stay in balance on him – I feel like a novice flopping all over the place.
“From the horse’s point of view, he needs someone else on him because he is a really good horse. It’s the first time I’ve given up the ride on a top-class horse, but I can’t do him justice.”
The decision leaves Mary with just one Badminton ride, the white-faced chestnut Apache Sauce, as she has decided not to take her two London Olympic front-runners Imperial Cavalier and Kings Temptress to a four-star this spring.
[Update: 4 April 2012, 1:45pm]
Full report from Belton in H&H out tomorrow, 5 April.