Swedish event rider Ludwig Svennerstal has sold his four-star eventer, Alexander, to Belgium.

The 12-year-old bay gelding finished eighth at Badminton Horse Trials last year and was Olympic reserve for Ludwig at London 2012.

Ludwig said he made the difficult decision to sell Alexander so he could fund the development of new event horses.

“Alexander has been a long time favourite of mine because of his talent and amazing attitude to work,” he said.

“He’s been part of the family since he was born and he was bred by my father’s cousin Nils Larsson, before coming to us as a three-year-old. He’s always been one of those cheeky ones, but with a load of talent that just doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Alexander began his career as a showjumper and competed in the World Young Horse Championships under Swedish rider — and Ludwig’s then trainer — Tobias Gronberg.

Ludwig took over the ride when Alexander was six. He continued to showjump the gelding before moving to the UK and re-schooling Alexander for eventing.

In Alexander’s first season eventing in 2010 he won a two-star competition. That year he also participated in his second World Young Horse Championship, this time in eventing, and was awarded Horse of the Future at the Swedish Equestrian Awards.

The following year Alexander was placed fifth at Chatsworth CIC3* and was 25th at Boekelo CCI3*. He was selected as Olympic reserve for Ludwig’s other horse, Shamwari, due to his youth.

Since then Alexander has had various placings at top level competitions, most notably his top-10 placing at Badminton.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to wish his new Belgian owners the very best luck on their journey with Alexander towards the Olympic Games in Rio and we hope to see them there,” added Ludwig.

Details of Alexander’s new owners were not disclosed.