Eventer Emily Llewellyn’s former young riders partner Society Spice has died aged 19.
Emily’s mother Cindy found the gelding in the field on New Year’s Eve (31 December).
“I went to fetch the horses in at 4pm, and I’d seen him just half an hour earlier,” Cindy told H&H.
“He wasn’t at the gate though, so I went over. He just laid down and died, it was so peaceful, a wonderful way to go. He didn’t have a fit, he was just so calm. I almost thought he was joking and that he’d get up, he seemed to have a grin on his face.”
She added that he had been “as happy as anything” earlier in the day, “playing with his old friend Pardon Me II”.
“Society Spice had such an amazing life; he was part of the family and was spoilt rotten,” she said.
The gelding took Emily round her first Badminton when she was just 19 in 2009. The pair finished 22nd.
The following year the combination were 15th at Badminton. The same season they also finished second in the CIC3* at Barbury Castle.
Society Spice last competed at the Young Rider Europeans in 2010.
“He retired after that and was just enjoying life, nannying youngsters in the field,” said Cindy.
“He was an incredible foot-in-the-door for Emily.”
Cindy added that Emily had ridden him just a week earlier (see video top).
“Emily came down to visit for Christmas and said she’d love to ride him,” said Cindy.
“He hadn’t been ridden in a few years and he was so excited, squealing and having a little buck. He didn’t look nearly 20 years old.
“Emily was very emotional to be back on him. She was so thrilled, he was such a fun horse. We are all very sad.”