British showjumper Jessica Mendoza has lost one of her top horses, Ramiro De Belle Vue, to colic.
The 16-year-old gelding had undergone an eye operation after an accident in the stable at Jessica’s base in the Netherlands, and succumbed to complications from colic shortly afterwards.
Jessica, who is currently in Wellington, Florida, for the start of the Winter Equestrian Festival, said: “It’s been such a sad and tough week for him and all of us.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better few years on him. He took me from winning at my first Global Champions Tour to winning my first Derby and car.
“He was the most cheeky and cheerful character who has a special place in all my team’s heart,” she added.
The Belgian-bred son of Mozart Des Hayettes was previously ridden by Jerome Guery and Vincent Lambrecht and came to Jessica in 2013. The pair went on to compete at the highest level.
In 2014, they won a two-phase at the CSI5* Longines Global Champions Tour (GCT) of London, beating Frenchman Roger Yves Bost. This was Jessica’s first appearance on the GCT circuit. Earlier that year, Jessica and Ramiro had been crowned victors of the prestigious derby in Eindhoven, pipping William Funnell and Billy Onslow in to the runner-up spot.
Jessica and Ramiro’s last show together was the CSI2* at Madrid in November and the pair had been in spectacular winning form on the Vilamoura Champions Tour the month before, notching up a hat-trick of victories.
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Jessica, 20, who originally hails from Chippenham in Wiltshire, was travelling reserve for the Rio Olympics in 2016 with her other top horse Spirit T and is a regular squad member on Great Britain’s Nations Cup teams.
“Thank you for everything and sweet dreams little man,” said Jessica in tribute.