November 19, 2007

British event rider Eleanor Brennan died on Saturday of injuries sustained during the cross-country at the Florida International Three-Day Event and Ocala Fall Horse Trials. Brennan was 21.

Eventing safety discussed before British rider's death
Tributes flow for Eleanor Brennan


Eleanor Brennan during dressage at Fox Hall.


Mister Barnabus
Pictures: eleanorbrennaneventing.com

Brennan's horse, Mister Barnabus, was also fatally injured in the accident. Reports from the accident state that the horse struck a gate, fell onto his neck, and landed on Brennan. The horse died instantly and Brennan died shortly afterward in hospital, of head and chest injuries.

Event officials planned to review footage of the incident to determine the cause of the accident.

Mister Barnabus, a young Irish sport horse, had been with Brennan for a season. Last season the combination were successful at Intermediate level in the UK and competed at Burghley.

Brennan was a full-time rider who split her season between Gloucestershire in Britain and Carousel Farm in Charlottesville, Virginia. Recent news on her website said that Brennan had returned home to Virginia after three years in Britain, and had been invited to join Linda Wachtmeister's Plain Dealing Farm, which was also home to the recently retired Winsome Adante and top US event rider Kim Severson. Whilst in Britain Brennan trained with Sandy and Mark Phillips, David Green, Gill Watson, Yogi Breisner, and Carl Hester.

At the age of 17 Brennan was the youngest advanced level event rider in the USA. In her debut year at the level she won the Area 2 (East Coast) Advanced Champion title. She was the youngest rider, at 18, to complete Badminton in 2005. Brennan also trained in equine business management, completed provisional certification for USEA instructor and was a USPC graduate/winner of the prestigious USPC Cavalry Award.

Brennan started riding after her family moved from Britain to Virginia, but was unable to ride in young rider teams as she was not a US citizen. It was trainer Kim Severson's suggestion that she move back to the UK for a couple of years after finishing high school. She spent her Gap Year with Sandy Phillips in 2004.