New Zealand event horse Dambala has been put down after sustaining an injury on the cross-country at Rolex Kentucky Horse Trials on Saturday (25 April).

Emily Cammock’s 15-year-old gelding pulled up very lame after a clear round with 11.2 time-penalties. He was taken away from the wash-off area in the horse ambulance.

Later that day, Emily explained that “Oscar” had seriously damaged his suspensory ligament.

“After the second to last fence I felt something wasn’t quite right and as we pulled up at the end of the course it was obvious we had a problem,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

“It appears that the deep ground has proven too much for an old suspensory injury and he has had to be withdrawn.”

Yesterday (Sunday, 26 April) the New Zealand eventer confirmed that Oscar was going to be put down.

“Just had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life,” she said. “Oscar’s injury is significant and career ending so he is being euthanised today.

RIP my beautiful boy, may your spirit live forever in the horse capital of the world.”

Oscar, who was competing in his first four-star event, had been in 18th position before he was withdrawn.

The grey thoroughbred won a CIC3* in New Zealand with Emily in March. This was his third win since 2011 at this level.

In an interview with Eventing Nation, Emily explained she had considered retiring Oscar in the US.

“[On] Saturday evening, our vets were treating the injury as career ending. At that point, we felt that a recovery to a career as a pasture ornament might be manageable by leaving Oscar in the States,” she said.

“But when we took the bandage off this morning, it was clear that no support was left in the suspensory structure. I couldn’t even pick up his other leg.

“Oscar is a wild man who has never been able to rehab in a box. The vets said that he would never be sound in retirement and that his quality of life would be compromised, even if he could somehow make it through rehab.”

Emily added she did not think the slippery footing or Derek di Grazia’s cross-country course were to blame for the injury.

Don’t miss this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out Thursday (30 April) with full coverage of Rolex Kentucky Horse Trials