The owner of a former four-star eventer who has been put down paid tribute to a “much beloved family horse”.

Marguerite Boucher’s Flintstone IV suffered severe colic and a twisted bowel and was put to sleep at home on 21 March.

The 27-year-old gelding, who finished third at Badminton under Rodney Powell in 2000, had been retired for some 10 years but had been hunting, hacking and eventing at a lower level with members of Mrs Boucher’s family.

“He was a larger than life character and everyone who knew him, loved him,” Mrs Boucher said.

“When he retired, he came back to our farms in Kent and was a much beloved family horse.”

Mrs Boucher bought the thoroughbred, who was known as Barney at home, when he was “four or five”. She believes he was raced as a two-year-old before he was bought by Graham Fletcher as a showjumper. He was then sold to Rodney.

“I fell in love with him,” she said.

“He was a lovely-looking horse; very impressive. We hoped he’d do well; he had the presence of a good dressage horse and although he wasn’t the most reliable showjumper, he was very good cross-country.

“Rodney adored him.”

In 2000, Rodney told H&H Barney was the easiest horse he had ridden.

“You could trust anyone with him because he won’t do anything wrong,” he said.

Barney also finished sixth at Rolex Kentucky in 2001 and won the British intermediate championship at Gatcombe in 1997.

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“The year he retired was the first time they allowed horses to downgrade,” said Mrs Boucher.

“So my 15-year-old granddaughter Katherine competed him and I was perfectly happy, I knew he’d look after her.

“He hunted with my daughter-in-law Fiona and was hacked by my son Hugh. He lived on our farms and became an expert on growing strawberries and apples!

“It was very sad to lose him. These thing happen, but he was very special.”