Young event rider Gaby Cooke’s top horse Sir Roscoe was put down after being injured at Belton Horse Trials yesterday.
Gaby, who was writing a diary for H&H in the build-up to her first Badminton Horse Trials, said the tricky chestnut jumped his best ever showjumping round before setting out on the CIC*** cross-country.
“He had been foot perfect the whole way until we got to the coffin,” said Gaby, 21. “We landed and the next minute he was on three legs – I knew it was pretty serious.
“When I took the boot off it was evident what had happened [a tendon injury]. He had regular scans and they have always been 100% clean – just last week the vet was saying what a tough, sound horse he was.”
Sir Roscoe was taken to Oakham Veterinary Hospital where the decision was taken to have him put down.
“It was pretty severe and he might have been able to go in the field and have the odd plod, but that would never have been Roscoe,” said Gaby.
When she examined Sir Roscoe’s boots, Gaby discovered a massive impact at the site of the injury, strongly suggesting that the horse overreached into the back of his leg, causing the injury. There was grit embedded in the front of the boot, so he probably also stumbled on landing.
Gaby had been eventing the 13-year-old Sir Roscoe since buying him through Gary Parsonage in 2007. The pair were second in the CCI*** at Blair Castle in 2010 and started at Burghley last year, lying 13th after dressage before pulling up across country as the horse was not well. They were due to contest their first Badminton in May.
“I owe Roscoe an awful lot,” said Gaby. “I’ll probably never have another horse as tricky as him, but I’ve learnt to get one horse to the top level and hopefully the next one will be easier. He was a very special boy.”
Although Gaby was initially asked to blog for Horse & Hound as part of our Badminton build-up, we have now invited her to join our regular team of Horse & Hound online bloggers, so she will be continuing with her weekly diaries.