Zara Phillips’ top ride High Kingdom is expected to return to competition in the latter part of this year after his injury at Rolex Kentucky.

The 14-year-old by Master Imp, who belongs to Grand National-winning owner Trevor Hemmings, was scheduled to do his dressage at 1.08pm local time at the American CCI4* on Friday, 24 April. But while he was being tacked up he kicked out, splitting the skin on his off hind on the outside of his pastern.

The cut was attended to and then horse was brought to the warm-up, but unfortunately it became clear he was not 100% and would not be able to compete. It was decided, in the horse’s best interests, to withdraw him.

Zara’s father Mark Phillips then revealed in his H&H magazine column the following week (30 April) that the horse had had to go to an equine hospital to have his joint flushed under general anaesthetic.

High Kingdom travelled home with the rest of the Britain-based horses after the event.

Peter Phillips, Zara’s brother, told H&H this week: “High Kingdom is back at Gatcombe and resting up with the hope of being back to full fitness for the ‘second half’ of the season after his unfortunate injury in Kentucky. He will not compete again in this ‘half’ of the season.”

Zara and High Kingdom were a valuable part of the British team which picked up silver at last year’s World Equestrian Games, where they finished 11th individually.

As such, they would be among the favourites to be selected for the British team at this year’s European Championships at Blair Castle (10-13 September), if High Kingdom can return to fitness in time and prove his form.

Zara is not riding at this week’s Badminton Horse Trials (7-10 May) as she does not currently have another four-star horse in her string. She has been competing Hunua, Disarm, Rum Expectations and Drops Of Brandy at BE100 and novice level this season.