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Rising teenage equestrian star killed after horse fell on head in competition


“The horse tripped and suffered a spinning fall” during the competition.

A teenage ‘uphill’ equestrian has died following an accident at a competition in Florida over the weekend.

The incident happened while 15-year-old Hannah Serfass was riding Quaxx – a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding – when ‘the horse tripped and suffered a spinning fall’ while competing at the Fox Lea Farm Spring Concours I in Venice, Florida, according to the United States Equestrian Federation.

“The fall was not related to a jumping effort,” the American Equestrian Federation said in a statement confirming Serfass’ death. “The EMT responded immediately and Hannah was transported to the Sarasota Memorial where she was pronounced dead.”

The horse was not injured in the accident.

A report from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office which was obtained by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune said the crash happened just moments after the horse landed a jump when it planted its left front hoof , which then caused the horse to lean significantly.

“This action rocked the rider forward and down the horse in the same direction and onto the ground. The horse then continued to fall in the same direction falling on the rider’s head to the ground,” reads The report.

Serfass has been described by the American Equestrian Federation as a “promising, very talented young rider…She was known for her passion for horses, her natural ability and her work ethic.”

“The USEF, USHJA and Fox Lea Farm team would like to send their deepest condolences to Hannah’s family, support team and friends,” USEF said in its statement. . “The Federation takes every accident very seriously and will investigate the accident thoroughly to find out what we can do to minimize risk and increase safety in equestrian sports.”

Fox Lea Farm, where the crash happened, released a statement expressing condolences on social media.

“Fox Lea Farm had a tragedy today,” the statement read. “Out of respect for the family, no information will be shared at this time. We send our deepest condolences to the family, coach, friends, & the entire equestrian community. We are all heartbroken.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.