Eventing rider Melanie Kay Tallent has died of injuries in a cross-country schooling accident in the US, only days after a similar accident claimed the life of fellow equestrian Nicolle Villers-Amatt.
Melanie Kay Tallent, 55, died on Friday, October 11, from injuries sustained during a training session when she and her horse fell while jumping a cross country obstacle.
Tallent was a neuroscientist, first as an academic with an NIH-funded research laboratory dedicated to the treatment of neurological diseases, particularly epilepsy and Dravet syndrome, and ALS. Over the past decade Tallent was been the Chief Scientific Officer of LifeSplice Pharma, a biotech firm she co-owned and co-founded with her husband, Gordon Lutz.
Tallent received her PhD in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995, BS in chemistry from Tennessee Technological University in 1986, and a diploma from William Blount High School in 1982. She was also an amateur ornithologist.
A life-long horsewoman, Tallent was brought up in Maryville, Tennessee, and lived on a small farm along Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Creek. She competed two horses in dressage and eventing.
A memorial service if being held on October 26 at the McAmmon-Ammons-Click Funeral Home in Maryville. Donations in Melanie’s memory may be made to the CURE Epilepsy Foundation or the ALS Hope Foundation.
Tallent’s death is the seventh in eventing this year. Three riders have died during competitions, one during a warmup, another while jumping at home, and two — Villers-Amat and Tallent — in cross-country schooling accidents.