Page last updated at 10:11 GMT, Sunday, 10 August 2008 11:11 UK

Woman rider dies at horse trials

Hartpury College equestrian centre
The event was being held at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire

A 23-year-old female rider has been killed in a fall while competing in a cross-country equestrian trial.

Emma Jonathan was taking part in the Mitsubishi Motors Hartpury Horse Trials at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire when she died.

A college spokeswoman said Miss Jonathan, of Petersfield, Hampshire, was on a nine-year-old mare called El Nino when she fell at fence 19.

The Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips took part in the event on Friday.

Police said the exact circumstances of the death were unknown and the coroner had been informed.

'Deepest sympathy'

The college spokeswoman said: "There was a doctor in attendance at the time of the fall and a full paramedic team was present within moments of the accident."

The three-day event was due to end on Sunday but organisers insisted it would go ahead, despite the death.

The spokeswoman said: "The competition is continuing on the wishes of Emma's parents. They said there is no way Emma would have wanted the competition stopped."

She said the cross-country section of the competition, which has been sealed off by police investigating the death, had been abandoned although other disciplines were still going ahead.

Zara Phillips
Zara Phillips had taken part in the horse trials the previous day

News of Miss Jonathan's death was greeted with sadness in Hong Kong, where many of Britain's top riders are competing for medals in the equestrian events at the Beijing Olympic Games.

British Olympic gold medallist Mark Phillips, who is coaching the American eventing team, said: "We know little about the circumstances but everyone is sad and sorry for the family and connections involved."

BBC pundit and four-time Olympic silver medallist Ian Stark said he had worked with committees to raise safety levels.

"There's a lot of research gone into making the sport safer," he said.

"But the sport is high risk. Everyone knows that - you get on a horse and you don't know how it will react."




SEE ALSO
Fall kills British eventing rider
19 Nov 07 |  Equestrian

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