A few months ago we ran a story on the horses that are being used for the production, as I was pleased to discover that Shadowfax was to be played by horses of an unusually graceful and intelligent breed, the Andalusian. Since then we’ve seen a few shots of the wonderful silver-grey horses playing Shadowfax – for there are two of them. One of them is the galloping Shadowfax, the other is trained to do various things on words of command.

Sadly one of them has had to be retired; the vet said ‘he is not working in his present condition.’ Sources close to the production have said that the condition is cancer and that it was terminal.

The treatment of horses on set has been the subject of intense scrutiny for the last few months.

New Line publicist in Wellington Claire Raskind declined to comment on the reasons for Shadowfax’s retirement so close to the end of principal photography.