Flintlock II, the horse who gave Piggy French her first four-star rides, died on 10 February, aged 24.

Emma Moses, Piggy’s friend and former groom who rode the horse in retirement, said: “Flintlock was found in his field at home last Friday morning by his owner Prudy Finch. Everyone who knew ‘Fliddy’ is devastated at this sudden loss.”

Flintlock (pictured at Burnham Market in 2004), a 16.1hh bay gelding by Chairlift, was Piggy’s partner for her first taste of success at European level when she won a young rider team gold with him in 2001, finishing fourth individually.

Piggy completed her first Burghley with Flintlock in 2002 and her first Badminton in 2003. They completed Burghley again that autumn, with clear jumping rounds across country on all three four-star outings.

“The times I had with Flintlock and his owners [Prudence and Rebecca Finch] will always be very special to me,” said Piggy. “I owe both them and him a lot.”

“It is always so sad to lose a horse and it was a shock to us all, but I know he had enjoyed a lovely retirement and a very good quality of life. I will always have very fond memories of him.”

Piggy campaigned Flintlock until the end of 2004 and from 2005 until 2008 Emma competed him at open pre-novice and novice level.

Emma added: “I have been fortunate enough to have been Flintlock’s jockey since he retired from top level eventing with Piggy. He has been a true friend to me and has taught me so much with my riding as well as giving me confidence.”