Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Rider killed at equestrian event

An investigation is underway after a rider died after a fall from her horse during an equestrian endurance event in south Wales.

Jane Jones, 45, a mother-of-two from St Athan, Vale of Glamorgan, fell heavily as her horse appeared to bolt after it was spooked, say organisers.

She was flown to Morriston Hospital by air ambulance but died en route.

Event organisers Endurance GB are investigating the circumstances of the accident at Margam Park on Saturday.

They said Ms Jones died from internal injuries.

The Endura endurance event, held on forestry land adjoining the park near Port Talbot, attracted around 100 entries.

Endurance GB chairwoman Wendy Dunham said Ms Jones was one of a number of pleasure riders taking part.

"We are absolutely devastated by this and our thoughts and prayers are with her family" Wendy Dunham

Endurance riding involves competitors following a marked out cross-country course of up to 20 miles, although for pleasure riders the distance is shorter.

Riders are timed rather than race each other.

Mrs Dunham said the sport prided itself on being the safest of the equestrian events.

'Reacted quickly'

"It does not involve jumping or three-day-eventing," she said.

"I've been involved in the sport for almost 30 years and it is the first fatality I'm aware of.

"We are absolutely devastated by this and our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

"It would appear that Jane's horse was spooked and bolted. She fell heavily and despite swift response from other riders, the ride paramedic and the emergency services, she died on her way to hospital in the air ambulance."

Event health and safety manager Richard Tymons said: "Initially there were no physical signs of injury.

"The rider was helped into the event Land Rover and she remained conscious and lucid. She was complaining of chest and shoulder pains and we realised she was seriously injured.

"It was extremely unlucky that she fell onto a log and we believe she probably died from internal injuries."

She was an experienced horse woman who had taken part in similar rides

Her partner and seven-year-old daughter were at the event.

She also has a 14-year-old son.

There were two separate events held at Margam Park on the weekend - the Endura equestrian competition and the inaugural Festival of Horses.

Russell Ward of Neath Port Talbot Council said: "The accident took place in the forestry area surrounding the park and the event organisers reacted quickly."

He said the council immediately informed the Health and Safety Executive.

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