Little Tiger, the diminutive mare who gained a huge following through her success eventing at four-star with Phoebe Buckley, has been retired from the sport, aged 16.

“This year she has just been a bit ‘feely’ with her front joints and is beginning to feel her age,” said Phoebe.

“She’s been so fantastic that we don’t want to push her, so we have made the decision to retire her to the hunting field and to hunt rides — we’ll try and win the Melton, the Golden Button and the Harborough!

“She tries her heart out and we would hate her to fail the trot-up at Burghley, for instance — we owe her so much and she owes us so little.”

By Java Tiger, the 15hh grey known as “Frosty” started eventing with her owner, Dr Polly Taylor, with Phoebe taking over in 2003.

The pair went on to complete six four-star three-day events: Badminton four times in a row (2007-2010), Burghley in 2008 — where she gained her best placing, 16th — and Luhmühlen in 2010.

Little Tiger’s bravery and gutsy cross-country performances despite her tiny stature won her many fans.

She has had three foals by embryo transfer, a four-year-old and a yearling by Catherston Liberator and another yearling by Jaguar Mail.