King castle

King Eider, Louisa Milne Home’s five-star horse, shot dead aged 22

  • King Eider, the much-loved “character” who performed in 10 five-star events with Louisa Milne Home, was shot on July 12 at the age of 22.

    The Toulon son, affectionately known as Duck, was enjoying his retirement and caring for Louisa’s young horses, when he was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer.

    “It was very unexpected,” said Louisa H&H. “He was in great shape and always rode, and had a lot of fun until the end.”

    Louisa and her mother Caroline purchased Duck as a four-year-old from Alistair Gatherum, who had imported the 17.1 hh Warmblood gelding from Belgium.

    “We had known Duck since he was two years old and mum always loved him very much. He was huge and very lanky, it took him a long time to become himself, but he grew into a very smart horse,” Louisa said.

    Louisa and Duck have risen through the ranks, completing their first advancement together at Eglinton in 2009. In 2011, they made their five-star (then four-star) debut at Luhmühlen, where they jumped flawlessly across the country and finished in 19th place. The same year they completed their first Burghley.

    In 2013 their badminton debut, which had been delayed by the cancellation of the event in 2012 due to heavy rain, was thrown into doubt when after Duck’s last warm-up run at Burnham Markert he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular and rapid heart. assess. After undergoing a veterinary procedure to correct this, he was given the green light to compete. That year, Duck was one of 12 horses to jump clear across the country in both badminton and Burghley.

    Of their 10 five-star starts, Louisa and Duck have finished Burghley five times and Badminton three times, and in 2015 the pair made the long list for the 2015 European Championships at Blair Castle.

    “He was a five-star horse through and through – and he had no thoroughbreds in him,” Louisa said.

    “He was always solid and you never had to worry on the day of a trot-up, he always came out and lit up. He loved parties and we had a lot of fun together. At a Burghley we were the first in the cross country and it was one of his best runs. We just have to go out and do our own thing. He was a very good horse to start with.

    Duck developed a large following, and Louisa said he enjoyed the crowd very much.

    “He was always looking for the cameras. He was such a friendly horse and very happy to stand up and have his picture taken. I’m glad his time passed before Covid as he wouldn’t have appreciated the lack of crowds! said Louisa.

    “He also had the greatest character – and wasn’t above making me look like an idiot. We really had to practice skinny fences because he could run, not because he couldn’t jump them, but because he thought it was a lot of fun. After a badminton game we went to my local event in Hopetoun and had two run-outs at a lean. You could see the character come out of him at this event – the pics of were very amusing to him, he just looked like the meanest schoolboy.

    “We also had to put a clip on the door of his stable where he would let himself out and at a Badminton he would let himself out and walk towards the truck. He also once galloped back from a trot at Burghley. He had to have very high fences at home or he would jump – and he used to go crazy on the ground when he wanted to get in. He had a very big personality.

    Louisa and Duck competed in their last badminton in 2019, but when they stopped in the water, they retired. It was Duck’s last event and he continued to compete successfully in show jumping, before retiring from competition later that year.

    “The main thing was that I always wanted him to come home safe and sound. When we stopped at Badminton I thought ‘Enough; we don’t need to do this, you have it. already done three times,” she said.

    “He qualified for the second rounds of Foxhunter in show jumping and we competed at the Royal Highland Show. When he retired later that year, he stayed to work from home and was an excellent nanny to the other horses.

    Louisa said Duck will be greatly missed by everyone.

    “He’s always there at the top of the hill, so he can watch the whole yard and be here forever.”

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