The horse that died in the inter-hunt relay at the Cheshire Show yesterday (20 June) suffered a heart attack, organiser Dave Harvey told H&H.
Former four-star eventer Benjamin Phipps, part of the Flint and Denbigh hunt team, was taking part in the semi-final when he died.
Vets confirmed that the 22-year-old horse had suffered a heart attack and died instantly, said Mr Harvey.
The advanced horse, formerly ridden by Eric Smiley and then Ian Olding, retired from eventing aged 15, and since had been hunted with the Flint and Denbigh by Richard Darch.
Mr Darch said: “He was my horse of a lifetime. A lot of tears have been shed but he would not have wanted to go any other way.
“We had jumped the first round and were flying along in the second. We came down to fence four and he never took off. About two strides out, I’m told, he suffered a heart attack.
“He knew his job so well and was fit and well – it could have happened at any time.”
Following news of the death, Mr Harvey said there had been some criticism of the show for not abandoning the competition.
“I think abandoning the class would have left a nasty taste in everybody’s mouth,” he said.
“I felt it was better for us to finish the relay with clapping and a winner.”
Mr Darch added: “I told Dave I didn’t want them to stop the class on my account.”
H&H is also investigating reports that a rider was seriously injured in the hack classes yesterday.