Anky van Grunsven’s Sydney gold medal-winning horse Bonfire has been put to sleep at the age of 30.
Anky announced the news on Twitter and simply said: “My heart is broken. Bonfire is dead”.
Bonfire suffered from Cushing’s disease and was euthanased yesterday (28 October)
A statement on Anky’s website explained: “He already had problems with his adrenal glands for a while and in the last weeks he also had inflamed hooves.
“On Sunday it became so bad that we had to decide to put him to sleep.”
The Oldenburg gelding by Welt As had an international career spanning 9 years.
The combination helped the Dutch team secure silver at the 1992 Olympics and then went on to take team silver and individual silver at the 1996 Olympics.
Bonfire and Anky then won individual gold at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Alongside their Olympic achievements they were also four times World Cup champions and took part in the World Equestrian Games twice — winning it once at the Hague in 1994 (video below).
Britain’s Olympic gold medallist Carl Hester is one of many riders who have paid tribute to the horse since the news broke last night.
“So sorry to hear Anky’s Bonfire has gone to horse heaven,” Carl said.
“They were a partnership I will never forget.
“I still remember the Hague World Games which changed the world of dressage forever! Gallop on Bonfire.”
Bonfire was retired in 2002 and spent his retirement at a field at Anky’s yard in Erp, The Netherlands. There is a statue of the horse in the village to mark his achievements.