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Top international endurance horse Vlacq Khamul has been put down after a “catastrophic” pastern injury.

The 12-year-old pure-bred Arab, known at home as “Kham”, was owned and ridden Tricia Hirst from Meifod, Powys. The pair had competed around the world — most recently as part of Team GB at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen (August 2006).

“I am absolutely devastated,” international endurance rider Tricia told H&H. “He was a horse of a lifetime — he took me around the world to places I never thought I would go to.”

Kham was destroyed on Saturday at Rossdale & Partners in Newmarket where Tricia had taken him for a second opinion for a niggling lameness in his left fore.

“We’d had X-rays, nerve blocks, everything — but our vet found nothing, only a small hole at the back of his pastern,” said Tricia. “So, because I was competing at Euston Park over the weekend, which was fairly near to Rossdales, I took him there for an MRI scan. They did more X-rays and an MRI but found nothing.

“So Marcus Head said he wanted to do another lameness work-up from scratch, starting with nerve blocks.”

Tricia set out on the Euston Park ride with her daughter, but received a call on Saturday to say that the Arab’s pastern had catastrophically broken down in front of staff during the trot-up. There was no choice but to destroy the much-loved family horse.

“He was part of the family. In 2004 he was ranked 9th in the world and was the 6th best pure Arab. In 2005 he partnered me at the European Championships in Compiegne and then my son Philip rode him in Bahrain at the Young Riders World Championships,” said Tricia. “But I just had to carry on at Euston, it was awful.”

Tricia said she had a number of other young horses at home, and a two-year-old by the same sire as Vlacq Khamul that she has bred herself.

“But none are quite like him,” she added.