Event rider Lucy McCarthy (nee Wiegersma) has paid tribute to her 2008 Badminton runner-up Shaabrak, who was put down last night (27 September).

The 22-year-old gelding, who had been with Lucy since he was a four-year-old, suffered a bout of colic yesterday.

“Physically he’d been deteriorating and we were aware it was inevitable in the not-too-distant future,” Lucy told H&H.

“Bless him, he never wanted to be any trouble; he took that decision out of our hands.”

Shaabrak (“Ross”) and Lucy won Chatsworth CIC3* in 2011, which was their last cross-country run in a career that also included winning Blair CCI3* in 2004.

“I took him to Tattersalls that year too but didn’t do the cross-country as the ground was too firm and he’d never enjoyed hard ground,” Lucy said. “So his last proper cross-country run, he won.”

They were selected for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but were moved to first reserve as Shaabrak had suffered an abscess some weeks before the Games.

Having competed at riding club events with a member of Lucy’s staff, he became less sound, so had spent his retirement “occasionally going out for a little ride and mooching around in the field”.


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“He was a very kind, sweet horse,” Lucy said.

“He was very domesticated; He would have lived with us in the house if he could.

“He had to be kept shod, and stabled overnight through the winter – he would just about cope with staying out at night in summer if it was nice weather, but otherwise no, and he was a hypochondriac at times!

“It’s hard, he was such a sweet person.”