Woman rider killed by fall
John, Newcastle Upon Tyne
We just wanted to say thank you. We will never be able to repay you or express how grateful we are to you for all the support and help. There would have been no one in the world that we would have had in preference to you to act for us.
Equestrianism was in mourning last night after a leading horsewoman, Caroline Pratt, was killed in a fall at the Burghley International event.
The accident happened at the 26th fence, The Lake Crossing, when Pratt's horse, Primitive Streak, hit the fence, unseated the rider and landed on top of the 42-year-old. The medical staff in attendance immediately waded into the water and brought her to the grass bank in front of Burghley's stately house, where first aid was administered.
Pratt was then taken to Peterborough District Hospital by ambulance, where she later died. "There is a very sombre atmosphere in the stables," said Yogi Breisner, the manager of the British team, and one of Pratt's coaches. "Caroline was such a popular rider, a star with her fellow competitors. She had been on our long list for this Olympics, and for Sydney in 2000, and she had been on our team for the European Championships in Pau in 2001."
Breisner had watched the fall on a television monitor at Burghley. "I have only seen it from one angle," he said, "but one couldn't see there was much wrong with what the rider, the horse or what anyone one else did. "It looked like a pure accident.
Caroline had been round the course on her other horse earlier in the afternoon, and she would have known if he (the 12-year-old bay gelding Primitive Streak) had not been going well. "She was one of my pupils, and without any doubt she would not have gone on if there was a problem with the horse. She had a string of very, very good horses, and was part of our national lottery-funded programme." The third element of fence 26 -- which was the third last on the course -- was a kind of jetty platform which required a take off in the water. It was not regarded as particularly big, and neither Breisner nor any of the other riders could see any reason why the horse hit that element. "Caroline presented him just right as far as I could see," reiterated Breisner. "At the moment, it seems like one of those accidents that have no explanation, and we have to accept in eventing that this kind of fall is part of the sport, something that all of us face and none of us can avoid."
The daughter of "non-horsey" parents who run a bed and breakfast guest house in the Lake District, Pratt had risen to the top of her sport with Primitive Control, on which she finished sixth at Badminton, the true test of eventing, in 2000. She lived for eventing, she ran her own livery yard in Cheshire, and on August 1 she designed a cross-country course at the estate of the owners of her horses, the Kinsey family at Middlewich. "Caroline would not want anything stopped because of her death," said one rider last night. "She'd had riding falls before, and had surgery on a recurrent dislocation of the right shoulder." The qualities she looked for in her eventers were that "they have to be fantastic movers and jumpers, but equally important, they have to want to do it for you". This, the harmony between horse and rider, was the challenge of her life.
An inquiry is under way trying to find any cause, any relevant safety factors for this latest tragedy. But Pratt had schooled Primitive Streak, and ridden him in competition from pre-novice to top events 67 times before the fatal fall yesterday. The horse was uninjured; the rider's injuries were caused by being crushed beneath his bodyweight. And although over half the field failed to get round Burghley yesterday, the mood last night was that theirs is a hazardous sport, among consenting adults who know the risk.
If you would like further information please visit our injury playing sport area on our website.
Back to news
If you would like us to provide you with advice with regard to your potential claim, please complete our brief claim form. We will reply to your enquiry within one working day.
Fill out our quick claim form
If you would like to speak to someone directly about your claim, please call our friendly team on:
0870 024 0558