Pippa Funnell’s 2003 European team gold medal-winning ride Walk On Star has been retired. The 13-year-old bay had continuing problems following the removal of a splint that had dogged him throughout his career.

“He came back last autumn and went well at Boekelo, but afterwards there was a choice of either retiring him or taking out the splint — which we did,” said Pippa, adding that the gelding was one of the brightest and most consistent horses she had competed.

Vet Ian Wright from Greenwood Ellis removed the splint last November, and Walk On Star — or “Magic” as he is known at home — was brought back to work very slowly. But his leg started to swell when he began jumping.

Now Pippa’s team gold and individual European Championship bronze-medal-winning partner has returned to his owners in Dorset. Nick and Barbara Walkinshaw bred Magic by Ben Faerie out of a Master Spiritus mare. He had been with Pippa since he was five.

“Today is the worst day of my life,” Mrs Walkinshaw told H&H, after Magic had returned home. “We hoped the operation would allow him to compete for a few more years, but at least he’s going to a friend of mine to do dressage and will continue to have an active life.”

Pippa Funnell added: “There’s been a real gap in the yard for two years — retiring Rocky [Supreme Rock] and Jurassic Rising, losing Viceroy with colic and now retiring Walk On Star. It’s very sad that we’ve lost another chum in the yard, but at least, like Rocky, he hasn’t retired lame.”