Dirk Schrade’s London 2012 Olympic gold medallist, King Artus, died suddenly at a three-day event in Germany over the weekend.

The 17-year-old Holsteiner gelding collapsed at the end of the cross-country at Wiesbaden on Saturday (18 May), after jumping clear. He is thought to have suffered an aortic tear.

They finished the cross-country in second place, behind the eventual winner, Ingrid Klimke and FRH Escada.

“We are all shocked and stunned by the tragic loss of King,” said Dirk. “To lose such an extraordinary horse cannot be expressed in words.”

Dirk and King Artus were part of Germany’s gold medal-winning team at Greenwich last year.

They won Pau CCI**** in 2009 and were individual fourth at the European Championships in 2011.

At  Badminton (3-6 May) they were lying in third after dressage (pictured top), but Dirk retired when King Artus stopped at the fence into The Lake.

German coach Hans Melzer said: “It is hard for Dirk to lose such a great horse. King Artur was the prototype of an ideal eventing horse.”