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Shear L’Eau, the most recent horse to win an Olympic eventing gold medal for Great Britain, has died aged 26.

Leslie Law won individual gold and team silver with the striking grey, by Stan The Man, at the 2004 Athens Olympics following the controversy after it was ruled that Bettina Hoy and Ringwood Cockatoo crossed the showjumping start line twice.

The combination were also part of the gold medal-winning teams at the European Eventing Championships at Punchestown in 2003 and Blenheim in 2005.

The horse’s other competition highlights included two top-10 finishes at Kentucky CCI4* and fifth at Burghley in 2003.

He accumulated more than 1,400 British Eventing points during his competitive career.

Shear L’Eau, known as “Stan”, was the only horse Leslie took with him when he emigrated to the US in 2005.

Leslie shared the sad news on his Facebook page on Saturday (16 September).

“He lived out a good number of retirement years in a massive grassy paddock in Florida with two best buddies and we only wish he could have had 10 more years out there,” said the tribute.

“He was a true horse of a lifetime. He was Shear L’Eau to most, but always Stan to us.

“A personality as tall as he was, we could write a book of Stan stories but right now we will just miss him and remember how lucky we all were to have known him.”

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It is believed that equine melanoma was the cause of his death.

Leslie enjoyed considerable success with Stan’s full brother, Shear H20, who died in his sleep in 2014.

Stan retired from competition in 2007 and lived out his days at Leslie’s US bases.

The horse’s former owner Shearwater Insurance has also paid tribute to the gelding and said he will be “hugely missed”.

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