Top showjumper and World Cup contender Forlap has died aged 13.

The gelding, owned by Belgian Gregory Wathelet, was put down after complications following surgery on his fetlock.

Gregory bought back his former ride from the Ukraine’s Alexander Onischenko in November 2016 and the pair competed at last year’s World Cup final.

Despite a strong character and temperament, you immediately became someone very special to me,” said Gregory in a tribute to his horse.

In 2012, Forlap and Gregory won the Belgian championship for seven-year-olds.

The following year they took the title of senior Belgian Champion and won a five-star grand prix in La Corunna, Spain.

As a nine-year-old, Forlap was second in a five-star grand prix in Doha and jumped two Nations Cup double clears, in Lummen, Belgium, and La Baule, France.

That year Forlap was sold to Alexander, but Gregory bought him back two years later.

“My dream had always been for Forlap to come back home,” said Gregory,

“I thought he was back for the rest of his life and for many long years.”

In December Forlap had an accident while being lunged and fractured the fetlock joint in his off foreleg.

“After this accident the whole team did everything in its power to save him so that he could enjoy a beautiful retirement,” said Gregory.

“While he was showing all his strength of character and incredible intelligence to overcome this situation and repair the fracture, the last two weeks were more difficult for him with several complications.

“Again he fought like never before, but unfortunately he couldn’t win this last battle.

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“Destiny decided otherwise, and with immense sadness we had to make the decision to let him go and so put an end to his suffering in this last battle.

“I’m so sad of his departure that I still have to realise that he will no longer be there.

“A lot of people will miss him here at the stables and even outside. But for me he will always be there somewhere in my heart and thoughts.”

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