Irish event rider Elizabeth Power’s first four-star horse Kilpatrick River died last Friday (12 September) from plural pneumonia.

The 16-year-old horse had recently completed a double clear with 29 dressage in an Irish equivalent to a BE100 with young Irish event rider Jodie O’Keefe when he suddenly became ill.

“He came in from the field looking really sick with a high temperature,” said Elizabeth.

The vet diagnosed plural pneumonia — also known as shipping fever in horses as it can develop after long periods of travelling.

“We tried antibiotics and nothing was working. His immune system was too low to fight it,” she added. “I didn’t want to see him lose weight and fall apart so last Friday made the call.”

Kilpatrick River had been in Power’s yard for 10 years and was the first ex-racehorse she retrained. He was her first ride at Badminton and Burghley and the first horse to take her onto a senior team.

Elizabeth and Kilpatrick River were selected for the World Equestrian Games in 2010, but had to withdraw once at Kentucky because he went lame.

In 2011 Kilpatrick River broke down at the end of the cross-country at Burghley. After a long break from competition, he had just returned to eventing at a lower level by Miss O’Keefe.

“All my success stems from him. He was the first of everything and taught me everything,” said Elizabeth.

The horse had raced more than 20 times as a youngster and Elizabeth had planned to enter him into the RoR eventing competition in Barbury this year. However, as he had not raced in the UK Elizabeth was not allowed to compete.

“If he hadn’t [raced] I would probably have got longer with him at four-star level. He’s been on the go since he was two and had a lot of miles on the clock,” admitted Elizabeth.

“But he was always a very special horse, a very nearly horse, who was very unfortunate with injuries.”