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Avebury: Andrew Nicholson's partner in so many eventing triumphs is put down

Avebury & Andrew Nicholson in December 2015Avebury & Andrew Nicholson in December 2015The tweet from Barbury Castle horse trials said it all: "RIP Avebury four times winner here at Barbury and Wiltshire's very own real white horse of the downs."

Avebury was put down at the Nicholsons' home at Lockeridge on Tuesday (September 6) - after a malignant tumour developed much faster than expected.

He was aged 16.  He was owned by Rosemary and Mark Barlow.

The ever-popular grey took Andrew Nicholson to four consecutive wins in the Barbury International Horse Trials CIC3* - confirming him as one of Britain's greatest ever eventing horses.  Andrew Nicholson rode him in 71 competitions - winning 27 of them.

Avebury and Nicholson had three consecutive victories in the Burghley CIC4* (2012-2014).   In 2015, after their fourth Barbury Castle CIC3* victory, they were preparing to try for a fourth successive win at Burghley when Nicholson suffered a severe neck injury in a fall (from another horse) at Gatcombe. 

That ended Nicholson's season - and nearly ended his riding career.   

Avebury competed once in 2016  - winning at Witchingham in March. He was retired from eventing in April - Rosemary Barlow said then that old age was catching up with Avebury.

Since then he had lived at the Nicholsons' Westwood Stud, been hacked out and had been ridden by Andrew and Wiggy's two children Lily and Zach.  

A few weeks ago Avebury developed a cancerous tumour in his jaw.  It proved to be untreatable and developed so fast he had to be put down before it became painful.

The Nicholsons said: "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."

He has been buried in the garden at Westwood Stud.

End of season: Avebury - after a roll in a muddy field at Lockeridge (September 2014)End of season: Avebury - after a roll in a muddy field at Lockeridge (September 2014)

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