US eventing rider Jennifer Wilkins Chapin, known as Jeffie, died at the weekend after sustaining a rotational fall at an event in Vermont.
Chapin, 32, was warming up for a class at the Green Mountain Horse Association’s Festival of Eventing in South Woodstock, Vermont on August 11, when the accident happened. The horse she was riding, 12-year-old thoroughbred gelding Joinem (Johar x Keemon), was reported to be uninjured.
They were competing in the open preliminary division.
Chapin, of Wenham, Massachusetts, was transported to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center but could not be saved.
She has been described as a “dedicated, goal-oriented amateur”. Chapin was a fourth-grade math teacher at Bentley Academy Charter School in Salem, Massachusetts and worked in the district for the past two years. The school’s interim superintendent Dr Kathleen Smith said Chapin “went above and beyond to inspire who students. Ms Chapin had a positive, lasting impact on her colleagues and students that will not be forgotten.”
Chapin earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience from Skidmore College in 2009 and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Lesley University in 2012. At Skidmore, she was also captain of the intercollegiate riding team during her senior year. In 2009, she was the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association national champion in Open Equitation Flat Class Team Competition.
Only last month, fellow US rider Ashley Stoute, 13, died following a rotational fall at a cross-country training session in Pennsylvania, and British eventer Clare Bedford, 31, lost her life following a fall during a competition.
Jeffie Chapin is survived by her husband, Deacon Howard Chapin, her parents Sarah and Stephen Wilkins, her brother Nicholas Wilkins, her sister Susannah Barry, and her grandparents Linette French, and Angela and Herbert Wilkins.
In her obituary, her family wrote: “She helped hundreds of young children acquire a love of horses and all the work and satisfaction that derives from helping animals.”
Deacon’s father, David Chapin, and stepmother Lauren Norton, and Jeffie’s parents have established the Jennifer Wilkins Chapin Foundation so that Jeffie’s legacy will endure as the foundation seeks to make the equestrian world accessible to young people who need financial support to pursue their dreams.