Grass Valley, the four-star event horse ridden by Mark Todd and subsequently by his Brazilian pupil Gabriel Cury, was put down today (Sunday 17 April) after an accident at Belton Horse Trials.

The 16-year-old bay gelding was contesting the feature class, the Lycetts Grantham Cup CIC3*, with Gabriel when he broke his fetlock at the solid corner that followed a big table at the Ringrose Turn (fence 7ab).

“He may not have been the best event horse in the world, but he was an absolute gentleman and everybody who knew him loved him,” said Mark.

“He had a very special relationship with Gabriel and they achieved a lot in a short time together.”

Gabriel and Grass Valley would have been expected to be on the home team at the Rio Olympics this summer. Mark is the Brazilian team trainer.

Grass Valley, by Legal Pressure, started his British Eventing career with Eric Smiley. Jules Cournane (née Stiller) then took over in 2007, with Alberto Giugni riding him in a few events later that year. Jules was back in the saddle in 2008, taking the horse up to three-star level.

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Mark Todd started competing Grass Valley in 2008, winning an advanced at Belton and finishing fifth in the CCI2* at Tattersalls and eighth in the CIC3* at Blair. The following year the pair were on the New Zealand team at the 2010 World Equestrian Games, claiming 11th individually and collecting a team bronze medal.

In 2012 Grass Valley was seventh in the hot CCI3* at Saumur and sixth in the CIC3* at Waregem.

Gabriel first rode the horse in 2013, starting at novice and progressing fast to take fifth in the under-25 CCI3* at Bramham in 2014. In 2015 they jumped clear round Badminton to take 39th place, a remarkable achievement for a rider whose first FEI eventing competition was less than two years previously.