Irish international showjumper Kevin Babington has announced the death of his horse Carling King, saying the 23-year-old chestnut gelding will be “missed by many”.

Carling King – which retired from competition in 2007 at the age of 16 – was put to sleep at Kevin’s farm in Pennsylvania on February 16, where he had lived since retiring.

Carling King was well known for his consistency at top level and had an exceptional career, which kicked off with winning the five-year-old national championships at the Royal Dublin Horse Show. After this, he was bought by Saly Glassman and moved to America for Kevin to ride.

Together, Carling King and Kevin finished fourth at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, were eighth at the 2002 World Equestrian Games and won the King George V Cup at Hickstead in 2003.

Kevin said Carling King was his “once in a lifetime partner that many riders only dream of having”.

“We travelled all over the world and jumped at the Olympics, European Championships, World Championships, had numerous Grand Prix victories and he was one of the most successful Nations Cup horses to ever represent Ireland,” Kevin said. “This horse put me on the map and I will be forever grateful that he came into my life. He was loved and will be missed by many.”

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