Cross-country accidents have claimed the lives of two riders in recent days on both sides of the Atlantic.
The US accident occurred during a schooling session last Thursday, and a British rider, who has not yet been named, was killed during an unaffiliated event at Solihull Riding Club on Saturday.
Ashley Stoute, 13, died in a rotational fall during a cross-country training session at the Standing Ovation Equestrian Center, in Halfmoon Township, Pennsylvania, on July 11. Her horse, seven-year-old warmblood gelding Avant Garde, sustained a broken neck during the incident and had to be euthanised.
US Eventing reported that SEOC owner Adam Armstrong said the accident occurred at about 9.20am. “The horse landed on top of Stout, broke [his] neck and was euthanized.” Stout was transported by ambulance to Mount Nittany Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, according to Port Matilda EMS, The Centre Daily Times reported.
Ashley was an eighth-grade student at Park Forest Middle School and was an avid equestrian, competing since she was six years old. In 2017 at 11 years old, Ashley won the Junior Beginner Novice 14U Eventing National Championship held in Tryon, North Carolina. She has been competing in USEA horse trials for three years and began riding her horse, Avant Garde “Grady”, in the spring of 2018 with great success. In June, they won the Junior/Young Rider Open Training division at the NJ Region’s Horse Trials and finished second in the Prelim/Training division at the Bucks County Horse Park event. She was currently ranked as the #2 Junior Rider nationally and was determined to reach #1 by the end of the summer.
Ashley was preparing to represent Area II Young Rider Training Three-Day Team at Rebecca Farm, Montana, later this month, in addition to grooming for the Area II North American Youth Championships team.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations are made to Area 2 Young Riders Program in Ashley’s name. Ashley’s funeral is at 11am on July 16 at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Port Matilda, Pennsylvania. In honor of Ashley, fellow riders are encouraged to wear formal competition attire (sans helmet) to the service. The USEA Area II Young Rider program is promoting the use of the hashtag #ride4Ashley in Stout’s memory for the upcoming Championships and beyond.
Ashley Stoute is survived by her parents, Craig and Susan D. Moscone Stout of Port Matilda, her brother, Alex, and grandparents Kathleen Stout and Ken and Kitty Moscone.
Avant Garde was a seven-year-old Westphalian gelding (A la Carte x Mensa) who evented through training level with Holly Payne Caravella before Ashley bought him. Ashley and Avant Garde won the Junior/Young Rider Open Training division at the NJ Region’s Horse Trial in June and most recently finished second in the Preliminary/Training division at the Bucks County Horse Park Horse Trials.
Four ambulances and an air ambulance attended the Solihull Riding Club one-day-event on Saturday, but the woman involved in the accident could not be saved. Members of the public began CPR, which was taken over by ambulance staff.
The accident occurred at about 4.30pm on the cross-country course, about a quarter of a mile from the main buildings on the grounds.
There were classes from 70cm to 100cm at the unaffiliated event, run near Birmingham. The accident was thought to have occurred in one of the 100cm divisions.
Following the accident, the remainder of the events were cancelled, and the grounds, near Dorridge, were closed and would remain so until further notice.
The circumstances surrounding the accident have not been released. British Riding Clubs is carrying out an investigation into the incident and assisting the Local Authority with their enquiries.