Paul Tapner’s former four-star ride Kilronan was put down on Friday (27 January). His health and soundness had rapidly deteriorated over the winter months due to a condition affecting his spine and central nervous system.

The 16-year-old grey by Ghareeb started his eventing career under Frances Mullan and joined Paul in 2009 when Fred and Penny Barker bought him for the Australian to campaign.

“He was a highly sensitive soul in the stables whose full trust he only ever gave to his long serving grooms Rowan Collins and Georgina Tapner [Paul’s wife], giving them both much joy and pride to care for him,” said the Tapner Eventing Team Facebook page.

“His sensitive nature completely vanished when he launched out of a cross-country start box, transforming into an exceptionally talented and brave cross-country horse, with an ability to make it all seem easy and effortless during his partnership with Paul.”

Kilronan completed six four-stars during his career and finished in the top 25 at all of them, his best result being fourth at Badminton 2014. In 2015, he was 13th at both Badminton and Burghley. He was also 15th individually at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in France in 2014.

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“Kilronan has given many fond memories to his owners Fred and Penny Barker, but one tale which stands out, is from his cross-country round at WEG in Normandy,” said the Facebook post. “As he effortlessly sprinted over the final few fences on a cross-country course where so many horses had failed or struggled in the dire conditions, in the riders, grooms and owners CCTV tent there was a surge of support from many who were watching him, giving rise to many loud cries echoing around the tent of ‘GO TOMMY GO!’

Kilronan stepped down from four-star at the end of 2015 and contested CIC3*s and the Event Rider Masters series last year, with four top-12 placings as well as a win in the advanced intermediate at Aldon at the start of the year. The plan had been for him to campaign at two-star level this year with young rider Ben Edwards.