Olympic event horse put down: ‘He’ll be missed, he had the most enormous character’

Drunken Disorderly, who won the eventing grand prix at Hickstead and competed at the Olympics with Mark Kyle, has been put down, aged 29.

“Carl” was bred by Joanne Jardin in Northern Ireland and then sold to a rider in Britain, who sent him to Tanya Kyle to school and sell on.

“He was so naughty I couldn’t even lead him in and out from the field, plus he failed the vet, so I didn’t pay a lot of money for him,” Tanya told H&H. “But once he knew he had to do what he was told, he would jump absolutely anything.

“He had the most enormous character — when he was younger, if the lorry went out without him, he would run around the stable and throw himself on the floor. He was very determined. He lived up to the name Drunken Disorderly in the dressage — it was never brilliant — but across country he always wanted to go and jump.”

Tanya competed Carl up to the top level, finishing 23rd on him at Burghley, but when she broke her arm badly and couldn’t ride for a year, husband Mark took over.

“He did the European Championships at Punchestown in 2003, which qualified him for the Athens Olympics, so I couldn’t say I wanted him back,” said Tanya.

Drunken Disorderly was one of the first eventers to prove how much more often horses can compete without roads and tracks and steeplechase, when he went to Burghley and was placed 15th, weeks after finishing 22nd at the Athens Olympics as a member of the Irish team.

He was also a specialist at arena eventing, being placed in the eventing grand prix at Hickstead with both Mark and Tanya as well as winning the class in 2005 with Mark. He also won the British Open indoor cross-country title twice.

Drunken Disorderly contested Burghley several times and Badminton (21st in 2005), as well as the Olympics and two European Championships. The only major championship he missed out on was a World Equestrian Games (WEG) — he was lame at the first trot-up at the 2006 Aachen WEG with pus in the foot.

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He stayed with the Kyles in retirement and was ridden until he was 24 or 25 — Tanya has a picture of daughter Tabitha, now a pony showjumping star, riding him when she was three or four years old.

Carl lost an eye around the time he retired from ridden work.

“He got an ulcer in it and we tried for weeks to treat it, but it didn’t bother him at all,” said Tanya. “He always had box number one, always ruled the roost.

“It was hard, but the right decision to put him down — nothing terrible had happened, but we didn’t want him to go through another winter and get stiffer. He got cast earlier this year when he threw himself on the floor because he wasn’t taken to the field at the normal time and we had to have the vet out to give him painkillers to get him up and I didn’t want to be in that situation again.

“It was a lovely sunny day and he went out in the field in the morning. He didn’t owe us anything, but he’ll be missed.”

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