Steph Croxford‘s former grand prix star Mr President, 21, was permanently retired to the field last week (5 January), after a routine vet check revealed he had a grade five heart murmur — only one grade down from the most serious.

Mr P, who stood at 16.1hh and was by a Gelderlander-hackney stallion out of a Dutch warmblood mare, was deemed an unlikely dressage legend.

The driving-bred Mr P cost just £2,500 as a newly backed youngster and was named after former US president Bill Clinton for the way he would round up and court the mares in his field.

He detested pigs and allegedly learned to passage by “goose-stepping” past the them while hacking.

Ever the crowd-pleaser, he would frequently receive standing ovations and winning the Saumur CDI grand prix freestyle in 2007 stands out as one of his greatest achievements. He retired from competition at the BD national championships in 2013.

It came as no suprise that when H&H reported the news of Mr P’s retirement, there was an outpouring of support for him on social media:

Thank goodness they caught it. At least he will have a pleasant retirement and won’t end up passing suddenly in front of an audience. Wishing him a long and happy retirement.
Ali Williams

He was a truly happy athlete. I hope he enjoys his retirement.
Diana Williams

Lovely horse, hope he has a great retirement.
Sue Cook

Happy retirement Mr P. You and Steph have given me some very happy memories over the years watching you at the Nationals.
Cathy Smith

Love this horse…enjoy your retirement.
Janette Floyd

We love him and he will be remembered at his best.
Julie Dennis

How sad for Stephanie. I love this horse.
Sarah Kingsley

Ah bless. Awesome dude. Have a long and happy retirement.
Sue Thomas

What a legend this horse has been and from humble beginnings.
Yvonne Mawdsley

What a great combination. This was the first horse I saw at that level looking like he really enjoyed what he was doing! There were very inspirational. Happy retirement Mr President.
Lozzer Ennis