Jonelle Price has paid tribute to her former four-star horse who died last October following an infection.
The Deputy (known as Hero at home) — owned by Tim Morice, Jan Morice and Lucy Sangster — enjoyed two top 10 placings with Jonelle at Burghley Horse Trials as well as many four-star finishes.
The bay gelding by Cult Hero was put down aged 14 as a result of a serious infection in a hind leg.
Jonelle recently released news of his death and spoke to H&H about her special equine partner.
“He was incredible,” she said. “He had a unique ability to make any track feel ridiculously easy — he made Burghley feel like a novice.
“If there was five-star level in eventing, he would have been up for it.”
Jonelle produced The Deputy from novice to four-star level, but his work was put on hold for nearly a year when he developed a serious head-shaking problem as a nine-year-old.
“People told us we should put him down,” said Jonelle. “We worked with all sorts of people but it was all thanks to Jerome Paupel that he got better — I was indebted to him.
“He found he was head shaking due to pain from a major trauma. He located the problem in his C2 [neck].”
Once the pain was relieved, The Deputy went on compete in the highest level of competition for two years.
He became unwell towards the end of the 2015 season and Jonelle was faced with a difficult decision.
“We gave it quite a long time as there was a small chance he might have some quality of life,” she said. “We let it run its course but he didn’t get better.
“He was gorgeous,” Jonelle added. “He was a very kind horse and very handsome — just lovely to have around.”