Following Oliver Townend's announcement over the weekend that this year's Badminton was Armada's final four-star competition, we take a look back at some of the cross-country maestro's career highlights in pictures

ARMADA  Oliver Townend

Oliver Townend has announced that his 17hh ride Armada will be stepping down from four-star competition following this year’s Mitsubsishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, where he finished in 25th postition and was one of only 11 horses to go clear within the time across Giuseppe Della Chiesa‘s challenging track.

“He’s been phenomenal,” says Oliver, about the 17-year-old gelding who was with Andrew Nicholson until 2012. “I’ll particularly remember him finishing well, seconds inside the time, when he won the British national title at Gatcombe and some of the things he’s done in distances, like taking six strides in three.

“The whole story with him is what could have been [because he has come so close to winning major events], but he filled a hole in the yard [when Oliver did not have many top-level rides] and we’ve learnt a lot from him from a management point of view,” adds Oliver.

“This is his last four-star and it’s a thrill that he’s going out on a cross-country performance we’ll remember. He’s not going to have any job other than being an event horse though — he jumps out of the field when he’s bored, he’s not nice to hack and he’s certainly not going to be a dressage horse or a showjumper!”

Don’t miss the full Badminton Horse Trials report in the 12 May issue of Horse & Hound magazine