Karen Dixon’s brilliant eventer Get Smart was put down on Monday, 1 March, aged 30.
“He had no teeth left and was losing condition, but it was an awful decision to have to make,” said Karen. “He was my soul-mate and best friend and did so much for me.”
Karen and her mother Elaine Straker bought Get Smart as a four-year-old, with Jack and Beryl Brignall later joining Elaine as owners.
Karen rode him at the Pony Club Championships when he was five and he was 12th at Burghley as a seven-year-old in 1987. Fifth place at Badminton the following year sealed his Olympic selection for Seoul, where he was part of the silver medal-winning British team.
Get Smart also competed at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, finishing sixth individually. His other team appearances for Britain garnered a world team gold and individual bronze (The Hague in 1994), a world team silver (Stockholm in 1990) and a European team gold and individual bronze (Punchestown in 1991).
Get Smart recorded six Badminton completions, finishing fifth (1988), sixth (1989), ninth (1990), 10th (1991), 18th (1993) and 10th (1994, pictured).
“He always went clear in the time across country, but he got wilder and wilder in the dressage because they paraded hounds across the park,” said Karen. “That’s why his best performances came abroad.”
In all, Get Smart did 14 long format four-star events. He retired from eventing when he was 18 and was hacked out by Elaine Straker. Karen also got back into riding after the birth of her son Rory, now 11, by doing some team chasing and show jumping with him.
Get Smart is the second former top horse to be put down in the past two weeks following the loss of 1994 Badminton winner Horton Point.