HIGHWORTH eventer Paul Tapner has confirmed that his advanced event horse Kilfinnie II was put down at the end of last year due to ‘various complications’.

The 12-year-old, owned by Sue White, was last seen eventing at Pau CCI**** in the South of France last August. ‘Scottie’ produced a lovely dressage test but sadly sustained a fetlock injury during the cross country which resulted in him having to be withdrawn.

Tapner announced the sad news via his Facebook page, stating that Kilfinnie was put to sleep in November.

“He is and will be very much missed for a long time,” said Tapner. “He had a heart of gold and we were very lucky to have had him to campaign as part of our team.”

The 17.1hh black gelding had competed previously with Little Cheringworth rider Jay Halim and went on to finish 15th at Burghley in 2009 for Paul.

The Australian eventer had high hopes for his star horse after he came ninth at Gatcombe’s Festival of British Eventing last year.

CONTINUING one of the longest-running sponsorship deals in sport, Mitsubishi Motors have announced that they will be backing the Badminton Horse Trials for another three years.

The company, part of which is based in Cirencester, started sponsoring the event in 1992 and have provided a wealth of support to the competition over the past two decades.

As preparations get underway for the 2012 event, riders are looking towards Badminton as an integral part of their pre-Olympic campaign. Badminton will be one of the last opportunities for team managers to see their riders perform at a 4* level before they head off to Greenwich and the start of the Olympics.

It is also a reminder that it was at the last London Olympics in 1948 that the 10th Duke of Beaufort, after watching a lacklustre performance by the British three-day event team, offered Badminton Park as a venue for an annual Olympic format event. In 1949 the first Badminton Trials were run.

This year the competition runs from Friday, May 4 to Monday, May 7, with the cross country again taking place on the Sunday and the show jumping climax on Bank Holiday Monday for a record first prize of £65,000.

Hugh Thomas, Event Director for Badminton Horse Trials, commented on the rewarding partnership that has weathered the difficult recession.

“This welcome renewal will take Mitsubishi’s involvement to 24 years of a very happy relationship with Badminton and we look forward to a secure future in these challenging economic times,” said Thomas.

Badminton has decided to make its official ‘cause’ for 2012 ‘Equestrian Team GBR’, raising money for all the British teams taking part in Olympic, World and European Championships over the next four years.