Hereford & Worcester

Death of girl crushed by horse accidental, inquest rules

A 15-year-old girl was crushed to death by her horse after it somersaulted over a jump during a riding lesson, an inquest has heard.

Jade South was riding black gelding Oz when his front legs clipped the front of a jump on 30 October 2008 at Redmarley in Gloucestershire.

Jade, from Linton, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, suffered "catastrophic" chest and heart injuries.

A jury at Cheltenham Coroner's Court returned a verdict of accidental death.

The inquest on Monday heard how the teenager "pushed on" her horse when he hesitated as she approached the obstacle.

'Moment of hesitation'

Jade, who was wearing protective body armour and a helmet, remained in the saddle as the animal fell and was crushed when the 16.1 hand horse landed on top of her.

She was riding with the South Hereford and Ross Harriers Pony Club, which she had been a member of for nine years.

The club had hired the course for the day for a cross country rally during the school half-term, the inquest was told.

Jade was riding her new horse, which her parents Paul and Claire had bought her around six weeks earlier, and was among a group of experienced teenage riders.

Karen Slaughter, an instructor for the club, was in charge of Jade's group and described to the inquest how Oz had briefly hesitated as he approached the 2ft 6in fence.

Mrs Slaughter said: "The moment before the jump Oz hesitated and Jade "pushed on", which is the correct thing to do.

"Oz's leg clipped the jump and his momentum took him over the fence.

"If he had been further away he would have cleared the fence. It was the moment of hesitation that brought him too close.

"I don't think Jade could have done anything else to tackle the jump."

The jury concluded the "horse had clipped an unpinned fence and the horse somersaulted over the fence, landing on Jade and crushing her".

Deputy Coroner for Gloucestershire Derek Dooley said: "I offer my condolences to members of the family."

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