Amy Stovold has said she is “heartbroken” after retiring her top horse Macbrian from competition, just a week after he was tipped by H&H for the British team this summer (news, 30 May).

The 16-year-old gelding won the grand prix at Hickstead on 17 April with 74.31% (report, 25 April), after a two-year break following a hoof injury in 2011. But Amy said he “just wasn’t 100% after the show”.

“I’m so disappointed, I’ve cried every day, but I can’t go into a show thinking, ‘What could happen?’” she said. “It’s better for him to step down; he doesn’t owe me anything.”

Macbrian will still have a job at Amy’s Surrey yard as a schoolmaster to her staff.

“He’ll have a few months off, then he’ll be ridden again,” she said. “He could go out and do a grand prix tomorrow, but I don’t want to push him beyond his capacity — it’s not fair.”

His retirement is a blow for the British squad, too. The pair had been aiming at London 2012 before Macbrian’s injury and the strong performance at Hickstead attracted attention.

“We have brilliant combinations gunning for their senior team debut, too, such as Amy Stovold’s Macbrian back from injury and nailing big marks,” wrote H&H Editor Lucy Higginson in a recent column.

  • Story first published in Horse & Hound magazine (13 June, 2013)