Irish showjumper Cian O’Connor has lost one of his top horses in a “freak accident” at a show in Montpellier, France over the weekend.

The 10-year-old mare Lady Cracotte, whom Cian only started riding earlier this month, had jumped in two classes at the CSI3* show before an incident in the stables on Saturday evening (27 October) resulted in her death.

In an official statement, Cian, who won team gold and individual bronze at the European showjumping championships in Gothenburg last year, revealed his devastation at losing “Cracky”.

“I am devastated to announce the freak accident which resulted in the death of Lady Cracotte last evening at the horse show in Montpellier,” he said. “The mare was being groomed at the stables and rugged up for the night when something startled her and she panicked on the cross ties and flipped over. Thank you so much to my dedicated staff, particularly my show grooms Dylan and Mie.”

The Italian-bred Lady Cracotte had previously been competed at the top level by Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels, with a phenomenal record including wins at Waregem, Rome, Aachen, Bonheiden and Valkenswaard.

Cian said at the time of purchase that he was “very lucky to have been able to acquire her”.

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“I’m so sorry for this wonderful mare, who had been so successful with Belgium’s Niels Bruynseels and recently joined my stable,” added Cian, who was competing at his second show with the mare.

“I was looking forward to getting to know her and was planning on doing some smaller shows to develop our partnership. Life can be so cruel some times, but the only consolation for “Cracky” was that she didn’t suffer. Thank you to the full team at Montpellier horse show who did everything possible to help.”

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