Kimberly White’s top horse Vogue III has been retired to stud after contracting Lyme disease.

The 15-year-old mare who Kimberly says “made all her dreams come true” has not come sound after the condition affected her coffin joints.

“It’s been a really painful year,” said Kimberly, who hasn’t been able to jump the mare since August 2016.

“Her form was very on and off — we thought it was her seasons affecting her at first. It wasn’t like her at all, and I’ve had her for eight years,” she said. “Then we thought maybe she had a virus — all her legs kept swelling up and her behaviour started to change dramatically. She was climbing the walls at home.”

The mare was sent to Donnington Grove in Berkshire for MRI scans, which came back clean.

“We then had a vet on the yard vetting a horse to go to the US and we were talking about Lyme disease and suddenly a couple of things added up.

“She tested positive for it and we put her on strong antibiotics to treat it. She was a lot happier and more comfortable, but she never came fully sound.

“We back on to the New Forest and there is a lot of ticks and bracken, so we think she contracted it at home and had probably had it for a while.”

A second round of MRIs revealed that Vogue had suffered deterioration in her coffin joints.

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“We injected them and tried all sorts of things, including a special gel from America, but she didn’t come right and we made the decision to put her in foal,” Kimberly said.

The Indoctro mare, who has now tested clear for Lyme disease, will be put in foal to Quintero this year, while next year they hope to take “three or four” embryos off her.

“She’s been a brilliant mare and she has a heart of gold,” Kimberly added. “We’d always planned to breed from her, but had been hoping to enjoy another season with her first.”

The rider bought the 16hh mare seven years ago from Richard and Samantha Maxwell as her first “proper” horse and the partnership surpassed all expectations.

“I’d finished school in Antigua and my parents had promised me that if I got my grades they would buy me a showjumper.

“I went from riding a cob to riding her. It was like going from a run down car to a Ferrari,” Kimberly said.

Although initially told the mare was unlikely to go beyond Foxhunter, the pair regularly jumped 1m50 tracks on the county circuit, qualifying for Olympia and Horse of the Year Show as well as representing Britain in two nations cups.

“I’ve got a lot of youngsters coming up and I’ve still got two good horses, but she’s left a massive hole in my string,” Kimberly said. “I just hope I get as lucky with some of the young ones as I did with her.”