A 15-year-old girl died after her horse stumbled and fell during an equestrian competition during the Fox Lea Farm Spring Concours I in Venice on Sunday, authorities said.
Hannah Serfass was riding Quaxx 2 — a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding — when the horse tripped, the United States Equestrian Federation said in a news release on Monday.
Serfass was halfway through the course and had just successfully landed the number six jump, the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to CBS News. As the horse galloped towards the next hurdle it planted its left front hoof, which caused the horse to lean significantly onto its front hoof, the sheriff’s office said.
Both Serfass and the horse fell in the same direction, and then the horse fell over on top of the teen and onto her head, the sheriff’s office said. Fox Lea Farm personnel and others administered first aid until responders arrived on the scene.
Serfass was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, the federation said. The horse was uninjured the federation said, as it suffered a “rotational fall,” that wasn’t related to the jump.
A talented up-and-coming young rider with a “passion for horses,” Serfass was known for her natural ability and her work ethic, the federation said in the news release.
With a population of over 385,000 horses, Florida is the third largest equine state in the United States, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture of Consumer Services.
In 2009, Florida passed “Nicole’s Law” after a 12-year girl died when the horse she was riding stumbled and fell. The legislation requires all riders under 16 years old to wear helmets while riding.
In a statement on social media, Fox Lea Farm said, “We send our sincere condolences to the family, trainer, friends, & the whole equestrian community. We are all heartbroken.”