Rider dies after horse trials fall
A young rider has died after falling from his horse during an eventing competition.
The 25-year-old man's death is being treated by police as a "tragic accident". The Somerford Park international horse trials held in Congleton, Cheshire, were abandoned after the incident.
Fellow event riders paid tribute to the man, one describing him as a "very special guy with a huge heart".
In a statement, Somerford Park said no further information would be given about the death until the rider's next of kin had been informed.
Mike Etherington-Smith, chief executive of British Eventing, the sport's governing body, added: "We would ask that at this extremely sad time that people using social media respect the fact that the rider's family may not be aware of the accident."
According to Somerford Park's website, Olympic riders from several countries were due to attend the weekend-long event at the River Dane valley site. Tributes to the rider, whose identity is yet to be confirmed, have been paid by others from the eventing world.
Event rider Ginny Howe wrote on Twitter: "Absolutely devastated to hear the news from @somerfordpark . I just can't believe it. Thoughts go out to all friends and family." International event rider Emily Baldwin wrote: "Horrific news from Somerford. Once again it's a reminder of how precious this life is and how real the risks are in our wonderful sport."
Eventing Worldwide, a news service for the sport, said on their Facebook page: "Today marks a very sad day for eventing after a rider was killed in the CIC* at Somerford Park. Our thoughts go to their family and friends and we support the request for people to respect the non-disclosure of their name at this time."
Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) said the rider was from New Zealand and that the accident happened on the cross country course of the event.
Presenter Clare Balding also wrote of her shock at the rider's death on Twitter. She said: "Devastating news of rider fatality today @somerfordpark. No details from @BEventing until family has been fully informed. Just awful."