New Zealand eventer Caroline Powell has lost her four-star mare Mrs Tilly, who reportedly succumbed to an encephalitic-type disease.
Mrs Tilly was euthanised on March 25 following the deterioration of her condition at Powell’s yard in the Scottish borders.
Powell had returned home from the Burgham horse trials at the weekend to find Mrs Tilly not well. The 11-year-old Romany Jojo mare was taken to the veterinarian.
A statement from Equestrian Sports New Zealand said: “From the first report of very mild signs of disease on Friday, her medical condition deteriorated rapidly through Saturday afternoon and evening in spite of prompt, intensive veterinary care. By lunchtime on Sunday, with her condition continuing to deteriorate, the difficult decision was made to put her to sleep. The precise nature of the conditions affecting Mrs Tilly has not been identified, however the nature of her symptoms were consistent with an encephalitis of some kind. This type of disease is extremely rare in the UK”.
Powell said that Mrs Tilly was “one of the gutsiest, easiest, coolest little bay mares to go cross country on, and she was clocking up some impressive dressage performances and deserved her listing for the NZ team. She will be sorely missed by the whole team here, she was ready to make her mark.
“We are all devastated with the loss of Mrs Tilly, the suddenness and extremity of it is shocking.”
Mrs Tilly was being aimed for Kentucky this spring, and had completed Burghley, and had been top 15 at the Luhmuhlen 4 star.
She was taken to two-star level by Mila Neil Martin, the daughter of her owner, Fiona Martin, before Powell took on the ride in early 2010.