Event rider Polly Stockton is mourning the loss of her top ride, Westwood Poser, who has died in a freak accident.
The Master Imp gelding got out of the horse-walker at his co-owner’s yard in Ireland on 14 February and galloped on to the road, where he was hit by a lorry. “Mossie” died instantly.
Arthur Comyn, who owned the horse with Polly, told H&H he was “very angry” with himself for being “careless”.
“I didn’t shut the gate [on the walker] properly,” he said.
Mossie, who was 13, had been on box-rest with Mr Comyn since October, after scans revealed he had a small hole in his tendon.
The injury meant that the horse had to be withdrawn before the dressage at the European Championships in Luhm ¼hlen last August.
“He was over the injury. I was so happy that he had recovered,” said Mr Comyn, who lives at Westwood, Mallow, in Co Cork.
“I was walking him out in-hand and was contemplating turning him out,” he added.
Polly was hoping to start competing Mossie – who was runner-up at Burghley in 2009 – in the summer.
“It’s like losing your mate,” she told H&H. “It has all been so traumatic – you get so emotionally attached to these horses. I just feel so sorry for poor Arthur.”
She will now aim Westwood Mariner – whom Mr Comyn owns outright – at Badminton.
Mr Comyn said Mossie was a “true Irish horse” and a “lovely fellow” who was a great favourite with his young granddaughters.
Polly agreed the horse had a “lovely nature“.
“He would try his heart out for you, but he was a complex character,” she said.
“He was very stressy and lived a bit on his nerves – hence when he got out, he wouldn’t have just put his head down and eaten grass.”
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (15 March 2012)