Event horse Avebury has been put down at the age of 16, after being diagnosed with a malignant tumour in his jaw.

Avebury, who won Burghley three times (2012-2014) with Andrew Nicholson, was retired from eventing in April this year.

He spent the summer being hacked out at home, and Andrew and his wife Wiggy’s children, Lily and Zach, have also enjoyed riding the eventing great.

But a few weeks ago he was found to have a malignant tumour in his jaw, which developed rapidly. While he received palliative care, there was no appropriate treatment for this type of tumour and the decision was made to put him to sleep yesterday (6 September 2016).

“We were deeply shocked at the rapid progression of the cancer, as only a few weeks ago he was thoroughly enjoying being ridden by Lily in his retirement,” said a statement from Andrew and Wiggy.

“Our only relief is that we were able to ensure he did not suffer, and were able to make the right decision in the interests of his welfare – which has always been our absolute priority.

“He has been part of our family for a very long time and has given Andrew some of the greatest days of his career. He will be deeply missed.”

Avebury was bred by Andrew Nicholson, whose children gave him his stable name, “Buddy”. He started his eventing career with Andrew’s wife, Wiggy, but Andrew took over the ride in 2007.

In 2015, the pair won Barbury Castle CIC3* for the fourth time, and were preparing for an attempt at a fourth consecutive Burghley title when Andrew suffered the bad fall at Gatcombe from another horse, which broke his neck.

Avebury has been buried in the garden at Andrew’s home, Westwood Stud.