Two riders, one horse die in eventing accidents

Ashley Stoute and Avant Garde both died following a cross-country training accident in Pennsylvania in the US.
Ashley Stoute and Avant Garde both died following a cross-country training accident in Pennsylvania in the US. © Stoute Family

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.

Update: Rider who died in British cross-country fall named

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.

Ashley StouteUS 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

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.

British fatality

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.

» Eventing obituaries

9 thoughts on “Two riders, one horse die in eventing accidents

  • July 16, 2019 at 5:17 am

    I’m so sad about this, bless her family and gallop free in Heaven you stars️.

  • July 17, 2019 at 12:55 am

    Three deaths, very sad news but I reckon all three died doing what they loved.

    • July 7, 2020 at 2:34 pm

      You are completely right.

    • July 13, 2020 at 11:50 am

      I’m sure the horse didn’t enjoy jumping. Very hard on his legs, leaving him in chronic pain. Not an enjoyable life, very sad!

      • August 13, 2020 at 12:31 pm

        Very sad? A 13 year old girl passed away, and thats what you are stuck up on.

      • August 14, 2020 at 10:29 pm

        Clearly, Gael, you’ve never seen a horse that truly doesn’t enjoy jumping – you can’t make them do it! My chap’s a case in point. Some experience in his past before he came to me convinced him that jumping was painful or frightening, so he’d prefer not to, thanks. We are very slowly and gently working to abate that fear, although he’s certainly never going to make a cross-country horse, and that’s fine by me. But it took nearly a year to get him to walk over a pole on the ground! Compulsion doesn’t do the job.
        Every horse has just so many athletic efforts in him, but the same can be said of every elite human athlete too. Go watch a few events. Not on tv, go to the grounds and watch them. Check out the horses’ faces. They’re having fun! And you’ll find that the riders take very good care of their horses’ legs, so that most event horses retire with legs on no worse condition than those of any other horses of their age.

      • September 8, 2020 at 11:21 am

        These horses LOVE their job. I’ve been around race horses for around 30 plus years and they fret and run fence when they get a time off. The sports these horses do are a natural for them. Kind of like you driving or shopping. They are BRED to enjoy their sport. Trust me- if they hate it they will be sold to say a trail riding career ASAP. You cannot force them to do things against their bloodlines.

  • July 18, 2019 at 8:31 am

    We need to take a look at some of the courses we build here at PC level where the bulk of riders compete. I have seen fences in 70 and 80cm classes that are well outside the specifications and quite unsafe. Any concerns you have must be accompanied with a $50 deposit and 30 minute time frame to deliver “in writing” it makes the feedback system for these events near impossible and certainly not encouraging. Clearly this is a message which says “we don’t want to hear from you”. There is a well established code of silence in NZ PC events in my opinion.

    • December 20, 2019 at 7:40 am

      Absolutely agreed.


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