Teen equestrian dies in riding accident after horse falls on her

A teenage equestrian from Florida perished in a riding accident after her horse tripped and fell on her.

Hannah Serfass, 15, was halfway through a hunter/jumper show riding competition Sunday in Venice, Florida, atop a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, Quaxx 2.

She and the horse had just completed the fifth jump. Quaxx 2 took a couple of steps toward the next hurdle, then planted its left hoof, causing it to lean forward, trip and fall.

Hannah toppled forward off the equine, and Quaxx 2 continued to fall, landing directly on her head, according to sheriff’s office reports cited by Sarasota’s Herald-Tribune newspaper.

While Quaxx 2 was unharmed, Hannah was extricated from beneath the horse and taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Hannah was a rising star among the horse riders. In March, she told World Equestrian Center Magazine that horses “kinda pulled me in. I just got into it and never wanted to stop. And now I just want to learn everything I can about it. I want to keep going with it.”

The U.S. Equestrian Federation, the Fox Lea Farm where the competition was held and the U.S. Hunter/Jumper Association offered their condolences to the Serfass family.

“The federation takes every accident very seriously and will be reviewing the accident thoroughly to learn what we can do to minimize risk and increase safety in equestrian sport,” the USEF said in a statement.

The riding community was quick to rally around Serfass’ loved ones, starting  #rideforhannah on Twitter and with some declaring they would ride wearing azure blue, Hannah’s favorite color.

In a statement to The Chronicle of the Horse, a weekly equestrian magazine, Hannah’s parents, Janine and David Serfass thanked well-wishers.

“Our daughter died doing the thing she absolutely loved the most in this world. If from this tragedy one person can be saved and find God, then her death will not be in vain. … We cherish seeing the #rideforhannah campaign and those who have chosen to dress in her favorite color, azure blue. We thank you again from the bottom of our hearts,” the pair said.

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