Cavi was a good friend and my partner — we went through so much together.

I don’t know exactly what happened on Sunday, and I haven’t seen the video yet, but we shot over the first corner at fence 12, and then drifted right at the second and took the red flag with us. I think that unbalanced him and made him put down on the fence behind.

He had a suspected broken femur and although we hadn’t had confirmation, he was in so much pain — whatever he had done was serious.

The owners were there — they always followed everything he did — and are absolutely devastated.

Cavi has always been saved for the “big, main events” so we were planning to have a bit of fun with him next year — which is why we were doing the Express Eventing competition.

We were thinking of retiring him at the end of next year, but even though he was 16, he was still so fluid, supple and going brilliantly it’s hard to know what would have happened.

Since the end of the season last month I’ve been doing the horses for myself, so it’s just been me and him. He was a magical horse to look after, he was polite and gentlemanly and a delight.

He was a little gem.

Call Again Cavalier

• 16.2hh 16-year-old bay gelding

• By Cavalier Royale out of My Woodlands Lady VII

• Owned by Eddie and Sue Davies and their daughter Janette Chinn

• Produced by Vicky Brake from a five-year-old, he was then sold to his current owners for Caroline Pratt to ride. Caroline had just one season with him before she was killed in a fall from another horse at Burghley 2004. Mary King was then asked to take on the ride

Career highlights:

2002 — four-star debut at Burghley, finishing 15th (Vicky Brake)

2004 — eighth British open championship at Gatcombe (Caroline Pratt)

2005 — third British open championship at Gatcombe; fourth Burghley (Mary King)

2006 — team silver medal World Equestrian Games at Aachen, Germany

2007 — first Chatsworth World Cup qualifier; first British open championship at Gatcombe; team gold and individual silver medals at European Championships at Pratoni del Vivaro, Italy

2008 — team bronze medal and individual 11th at Olympics in Hong Kong; eighth Pau four-star

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (4 December, ’08)