German dressage star Isabell Werth’s former top horse Warum Nicht has died aged 19.
The gelding had spent a happy retirement at the rider’s yard in Rheinberg but had a serious colic attack recently.
The 2007 World Cup final winner had been in “super shape” before he developed colic, said the five-times Olympic gold medallist.
She added that vets “tried everything” to save him, but that an operation did not work.
She said she hoped for “many more years” for the grand prix horse, but that “it wasn’t meant to be”.
Warum Nicht, by Weltmeyer out of Winja (by Weznel I), was bred by Hinrich Lussen Madeleine Winter-Schulze.
He was retired from competition three years ago.
In 2012 the chestnut gelding fractured his pelvis in a stable accident, but did not recover sufficiently to be competed again.
The horse was known as Hannes, after his former rider Hannes Baumgart.
As well as their 2007 World Cup win, the pair took the four-star tour at the CDIO at Aachen in 2010 and were on the German bronze medal-winning team at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010.
“I can not believe it, even though it has been a few days now,” Isabell wrote on her website.
“I couldn’t announce the sad news at once as I did not want everyboy to ask me about his death at a show.
“Now I have had the time to get a little used to the idea that our gentle and always cheerful giant is no longer with us.
“It all happened so incredibly fast. Hannes was in a super good condition until he suddenly showed colic symptoms.
“We have tried everything, even a surgery. But already during the operation it was clear that he was beyond redemption.
“We then let him fall asleep peacefully in the anaesthesia.
“I would have granted him so many years here, but it was not to be. Thanks Hannes for everything I experienced with you. I hope you now gallop on another pasture. Farewell.”
Isabell has recently had two new horses moved to her yard for training.
Fourteen-year-old grand prix gelding Daily Pleasure and 10-year-old small tour gelding Haydn, both owned by Countess Amely von Buckholtz, have been moved from Holga Finken to Isabell’s yard.
Daily Pleasure is being ridden by Beatrice Buchwald and Haydn by Niklaas Feilzer.
Isabell has been selected for the German dressage team at the FEI European Dressage Championships at Aachen later this month (12-16 August) with Don Johnson FRH. Her other top horse, Bella Rose, was not sufficiently recovered from injury to be considered for selection.
Kristina Bröring-Sprehe, Matthias Alexander Rath, Jessica von Bredow-Werndl make up the strong German contingent.