An “up-and-coming” teenage equestrian has died following an accident during a competition in Florida over the weekend.
The incident occurred when 15-year-old Hannah Serfass was riding Quaxx -- a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding -- when “the horse tripped and suffered a rotational fall” while competing at the Fox Lea Farm Spring Concours I in Venice, Florida, according to the U.S. Equestrian Federation.
“The fall was unrelated to a jumping effort,” the U.S. Equestrian Federation said in a statement confirming Serfass’ death. “The EMT responded immediately, and Hannah was transported to Sarasota Memorial where she was pronounced dead.”
The horse was uninjured in the accident.
A Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office report that was obtained by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune said the accident happened just moments after the horse successfully landed a jump when it planted its left front hoof which subsequently caused the horse to lean significantly.
“This action caused the rider to then topple forward and off the horse in the same direction and onto the ground. The horse then continued to fall in the same direction falling over and onto the rider’s head on the ground,” the report said.
Serfass was described by the U.S. Equestrian Federation as a “very talented up-and-coming young rider … She was known for her passion for horses, her natural ability, and her work ethic.”
“The USEF, USHJA, and Fox Lea Farm team wish to extend our deepest condolences to Hannah’s family, support team, and friends,” the USEF said in their statement. “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.”
Fox Lea Farm, where the accident occurred, released a statement expressing their condolences on social media.
“Fox Lea Farm had a tragedy occur today,” the statement read. “Out of respect to the family, no information will be shared at this time. We send our sincere condolences to the family, trainer, friends, & the whole equestrian community. We are all heartbroken.”