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Children’s author Babette Cole’s homebred working hunter Hot Tip was put down aged 20 earlier this month (Tuesday 2 April) after a bout of colic.

“Scrappit” was the inspiration for many of her children’s books, Babette told H&H, including Princess Smartypants and the Fetlocks Hall series.

By Roviris, he was three-time national champion side saddle working hunter.

As well as his success in the show ring, the diminutive Scrappit, who stood at 15.1hh, evented, hunted and team chased with the Legover Ladies side saddle team.

“We had amazing fun together and it is really hard to come to terms with the fact he has gone,” said Babette.

“I would dearly love to thank everybody for the hundreds of emails and text messages from Scrappit fans all over the world – I did not know he had so many fans.

“The best one was from Peta Roberts [trainer and fellow of the British Horse Society], who remembered him for some of his more eccentric behaviour,” she added, recalling Scrappit’s aptitude for spectacular rears.

“Peta said, ‘Plant a tree in the garden for him… one with thorns!’

He put me in intensive care twice and broke both my legs, but I forgave him because, when he was good, he was amazing.”

Babette hopes that Scrappit may have “handed his mighty crown” to her five-year-old, Kyte – another homebred.

“I put Scrappit’s side saddle on him last Saturday (6 April) for the first time and he was a real star,” she said.