Tom Gadsby dies in Somerford Park horse trials fall

A horse rider from New Zealand has died after a fall at an eventing competition in Cheshire.

The Somerford Park international in Congleton, which was in its final day, was abandoned after Tom Gadsby's fall.

Olympic riders from several countries had been attending the trials at the River Dane valley site since Friday.

Mr Gadsby, 26, who died at the scene, was based with international eventer Tiny Clapham near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

Equestrian Sports New Zealand head Jim Ellis said it was a "tragic day" and Mr Gadsby was a "talented show jumper".

Mr Ellis said Mr Gadsby was in Europe to "fulfil his dream of competing as a professional event rider - a dream he achieved but which has been tragically cut short".

ESNZ said the accident happened on the cross-country course.

'Tragic accident'

A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: "At 3pm today, police were called to an incident at an equestrian event in the area of Somerford, Congleton, to a report of a rider having fallen from his horse.

"Sadly, it was confirmed that a 26-year-old male had been pronounced dead at the scene... in what appears to be a tragic accident."

Mr Gadsby was from Kerikeri, north of Auckland.

He had competed for many years at grand prix-level show jumping, including two years in Germany, before changing back to eventing last year.

Tributes to the rider have been paid on Twitter by people from the eventing world.

International event rider Emily Baldwin described the death as "horrific news".

"Once again it's a reminder of how precious this life is and how real the risks are in our wonderful sport," she said.

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