Daisy Berkeley’s popular event horse Spring Along has died of a suspected heart attack at Gatcombe Horse Trials.
The 18-year-old bay died instantly while jumping the two steps up to palisade, fence 23ab on the 25-fence open intermediate course. Daisy was not seriously injured.
Spring Along was having his first run of the season, having finished last season on a high by winning the British open championships at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe. Daisy then announced she was pregnant with her first child, stopping competing soon afterwards.
The Irish-bred by Pallas Digion will be mourned not only by Daisy and her mother, his joint-owner Caroline Dick, but also by his legions of fans. Spring Along was one of the most popular event horses of the past decade, known for being a great character, his consistency cross-country and his occasional naughtiness in the dressage.
Daisy bought Spring Along as a five-year-old from Lucinda Fredericks. As well as his 2010 British open win, he won the CIC*** at Barbury in 2009 and was third and best of the British at Badminton last year. He also represented Britain four times, helping the team to gold at the 2007 Pratoni European Championships, silver at the World Equestrian Games in Aachen in 2006 and bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Hong Kong.
Spring Along was recently the subject of one of Horse & Hound’s “stripped bare” features, published in the eventing special (10 March issue), when Daisy revealed that although he was entered for Badminton, she would only take him if she felt he was capable of a top-10 placing and that that would probably have been his last three-day event.
Full report from Gatcombe in this week’s Horse & Hound (31 March issue).