Training accident claims life of young eventer Tiggy Hancock

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Tiggy Hancock, who has died in an eventing training accident at the age of 15.
Tiggy Hancock, pictured in 2019 before the Pony Eventing European Championships. © Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Tributes are pouring in following the death of 15-year-old eventer Tiggy Hancock in a training accident on Wednesday near Dublin.

Tiggy, a member of Horse Sport Ireland’s Pony High-Performance Eventing Programme, was at a squad training event at Greenogue Equestrian on Tay Lane in Rathcoole, Co Dublin, when the accident occurred at around 2pm on June 16.

She sustained serious injuries and received medical assistance from the Dublin Fire Brigade and the National Ambulance Service. Tiggy was taken to Crumlin Children’s Hospital but was unable to be saved.

It is just under two years since the death in Britain of 15-year-old Iona Sclater, whose pony somersaulted and fell on top of her. The latest accident is the first reported eventing related fatality this year, following two deaths in 2020.

Riding clubs, equestrian centres and horse groups throughout Ireland and beyond are expressing their shock and sadness online, with equestrian centre owner Lucy McCarthy paying tribute to the teen on Greenogue’s Facebook page. “Following yesterday’s tragic accident in the equestrian centre, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the young rider involved. She will be sadly missed by everyone in the equestrian community.”

The Irish Pony Society cancelled its Spring Show scheduled for this weekend, and expressed its shock and sadness at Tiggy’s untimely death.

“Tiggy was an exceptional and talented young rider who was such an inspiration and was looked up to by so many of our members. Her accomplishments within the IPS and all equestrian disciplines both here and in the UK are well documented. She will always be remembered for her radiant smile, her gratitude and laughter in victory and defeat.”

The accident is being investigated, and a file is being prepared for the Coroners Court. Ireland’s Health and Safety Authority were to carry out a scene examination on Thursday, June 17, a garda spokeswoman said.

From left, Ronan Murphy, CEO of Horse Sport Ireland, with Tiggy Hancock, Susan Shanahan, Grace Tyrrell, and Alex Connors at the HSI Medal Reception 2019 at Killashee House Hotel in Co Kildare.
From left, Ronan Murphy, CEO of Horse Sport Ireland, with Tiggy Hancock, Susan Shanahan, Grace Tyrrell, and Alex Connors at the HSI Medal Reception 2019 at Killashee House Hotel in Co Kildare, after they won the team bronze medal at the Under 16 European Eventing Team Championships. © Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Tiggy was a keen equestrian for many years as a member of the Carlow and Kilkenny Hunt Pony Club and a successful working hunter pony competitor. She began eventing in the autumn of 2018, and made an immediate mark on the sport. Her sisters have also competed to a high level in eventing.

Following a run of impressive performances in 2019, Tiggy was selected to represent Ireland at the Under 16 European Eventing Team Championships in Poland, where she and her teammates secured a bronze medal.

Only recently, Tiggy has impressed against senior counterparts in the CCI2* S in Millstreet with Coppenagh Spring Sparrow finishing just outside the podium, seeing off seasoned athletes who have competed at European and World Level.

“Tiggy was well-liked among both junior and senior members of the Irish equestrian family and her passing will be mourned by all,” Horse Sport Ireland said.

“The Hancock family are known throughout Ireland for their commitment to the equestrian community and those who know them will share in their grief.”

Horse Sport Ireland has a designated support person to assist those who are affected by Tiggy’s death, and is encouraging them to come forward seek support.

“The loss of a young person is always particularly hard to comprehend. This will be a difficult time for many of Tiggy’s teammates and friends in the sport.”

Tiggy’s funeral is being held on Monday at 2pm at Lorum Church near Leighlin Bridge in Carlow.

Tiggy is survived by her parents, Frank and Jane, and sisters Eliza (25), and Lucy (21).

Tiggy Hancock, pictured third from the left at the front, beside HSI CEO Ronan Murphy and HSI chairman Joe Reynolds, at the HSI Rebrand Launch and Medal Reception in 2019.
Tiggy Hancock, pictured third from the left at the front, beside HSI CEO Ronan Murphy and HSI chairman Joe Reynolds, at the HSI Rebrand Launch and Medal Reception in 2019. Also pictured is,  back row, from left, Alex Connors, Niamh McEvoy, Olivia Swan, Susan Shanahan, Grace Tyrrell, John McEntee, Seamus Hughes-Kennedy; middle row, from left, Brian Kuenhle, Sam Watson, Paul O’Shea, Kate Derwin, Kate Dwyer, Heike Holstein, Cathal Daniels; front row, from left, Sarah Ennis, Judy Reynolds,  Francis Derwin, and Anna Merveldt. © Matt Browne/Sportsfile

 

 

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