Natasha Baker has announced that her Rio gold-medallist horse has died from a bacterial infection.
Breaking the sad news on Facebook, the Paralympic rider wrote that Cabral (known as JP at home) had sustained a small cut in his field. Despite the injury not initially appearing serious, Cabral had contracted an infection from Clostridia bacteria and had to be put down at the weekend.
Writing on her social media page, Natasha said: “[I am] 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.”
Cabral first teamed up with Natasha in 2009 and the pair went on to have great success at both European and world championships. They took Rio by storm last summer, winning both individual and the team events, taking home three golds.