Natasha Baker has revealed that her 11-time gold medal-winning horse, Cabral - aka JP, was put down over the weekend after falling ill from an infection.
Tragic news for Natasha who had most recently triumphed with JP, winning three gold medals together in the 2016 Rio Paralympics in September.
In a touching statement posted on her website, Ms Baker said,
"Writing this with a totally broken heart. This weekend I suddenly lost my soul mate, my best friend and my dancing partner. After a short illness from a small wound from the field he contracted Clostridia bacteria. JP was a horse like no other, a true legend. He was discovered by fluke and I instantly knew he was 'the one'. He made my dreams come true over and over again. We've had the best journey together and he has given me memories I will treasure forever, I cannot thank him enough. He gave me his heart and together we took on the world. 11 gold medals, Paralympic records, endless national and international titles, we defied the odds and he gave me absolutely everything he had. He had the kindest soul and his heart was made of gold."
Clostridia bacteria is common in horses and foals and can cause sudden death.
Natasha started working with JP, a 16-year-old Polish-bred dark bay gelding back in 2009 and they soon formed a strong bond.
In 2011, they won double European gold together and were undefeated again in 2013. They went on to claim a total of five European Championship golds, a gold and silver World Championship medal and five Paralympic gold medals — as well as two Paralympic records in front of their home crowd at London 2012.
Natasha described winning triple gold medals at the Paralympics in Rio to be beyond her wildest dreams...