Teen Equestrian Killed by Her Horse During Competition

Sunday incident in Florida triggered by horse planting its left foot for 'unknown reasons'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2023 12:05 PM CDT
Teen Equestrian Killed by Her Horse During Competition
   (Getty Images / Wirestock)

A 15-year-old equestrian's horse tripped during competition on Sunday and suffered a rotational fall that ended up causing the Florida girl's death. Hannah Serfass was roughly halfway through the course of a jumper event at the Fox Lea Farm Spring Concours I in Venice when the incident happened. NBC News quotes a description of the incident from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, which said that Quaxx 2, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, landed the sixth jump without issue "and took two or three steps/gallops toward the next hurdle and for unknown reasons planted its left foot, which caused the horse to lean down significantly towards its left front hoof."

That movement caused Serfass to tumble off the horse, also in a leftward direction. "The horse then continued to fall in the same direction falling over and onto the rider's head on the ground." The teen from Webster, Florida, was pronounced dead at a hospital. The horse was uninjured. The US Equestrian Federation said in a statement that the fall was "unrelated to a jumping effort" and said it will review what happened "to learn what we can do to minimize risk and increase safety in equestrian sport."

WFLA reports Serfass is being remembered as a talented equestrian and runner. Her cross country coach told the station, "We were excited to watch her growth continue because her times just got to the point where she was ready to embark upon competing for a state title." (More equestrian stories.)

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