The Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) has been forced to cancel an act by Spanish natural horseman Antonio Fernandez after it became evident the “atmosphere in the arena was overwhelming for the horse.”

Antonio and his eight-year-old palomino Dorado were making their British debut at HOYS but have left after their first performance on Wednesday afternoon (7 October).

“He’s done displays all over Spain but a venue of this size with all the lights was obviously too much for him,” said a HOYS spokesman.

The HOYS organisers said it was not possible to find a replacement for the act at such short for the Thursday and Friday performances. The World Equestrian Games vaulting medallists Joanne and Hannah Eccles will be filling Fernandez’ slots on Saturday and Sunday.

The musical ride of the Household Cavalry presented by Home Farm Hothorpe and the Mulbrooke Stud remain as a feature display.

In the pre-publicity HOYS said: “The grace of Doma en Libertad with Antonio Fernandez ‘El Paqueto’ will be the perfect contrasting partner to the excitement and thrills of the musical ride of The Household Cavalry.”

Antonio Fernandez is a former national dressage champion and has taken Spanish showing championships with both Arab and Spanish-bred horses.

He became intrigued by natural horsemanship after meeting liberty work specialist Paco Bautista “El Zorro.”

“Dorado and I will communicate in exactly the same way in front of the audience as we do when we are training at home,” he said when first announcing he was coming to Britain.