One of the most influential sires in British sport horse breeding has been put to sleep.

Animo – the KWPN showjumping stallion – was put down at his home in Sussex last week, age 29.

His owner and former rider Morten Aasen toldH&H the stallion had been “suffering the effects of old age”.

“He started losing condition about six months ago. We wanted to give him the summer but we thought he didn’t need another winter. Animo had a good life and a good end.”

The stallion retired from stud duties two years ago. He is thought to have covered about 3,000 mares. Pippa and William Funnell used him as a foundation sire for their Billy Stud.

He has sired several leading showjumpers – including Ben Maher’s Robin Hood W – and is the damsire of Carl Hester’s rising dressage star, Nip Tuck.

“It was a very sad day,” Mr Aasen told H&H. “As we walked around the yard, I said to my farm manager, ‘there is something missing here’.”

Pippa Funnell told H&H it was “the end of an era“.

“He was so influential, not just in our breeding but throughout Europe.”

Mr Aasen added: “I’ve had messages of condolence from all over the world – it says a lot about him.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (24 November 2011)