Organisers of the 10th Annual Tintern Inter-School Victorian Horse Trials opted to cancel the event following the two horse fatalities on the cross country.
Horsetalk understands one of the horses suffered a broken leg, and the other appeared to have collapsed from a possible brain aneurism.
"The organising committee made a decision to cancel the event out of concern for the emotional well-being of the riders, their families and friends, and also out of respect for the horses," said Tintern Schools Principal Jenny Collins. The event is organised through the school by the Parent's Committee of Friends of Equestrian.
"It is well known that many sports our children participate in carry an inherent risk and that accidents do occur from time to time," Collins said.
"The organising committee and the technical delegate wish to assure everyone that the cross-country course was accredited and safe, ideal weather conditions prevailed and no rider error was involved."
The event was run under current guidelines for Pony Club Association of Victoria (PCAV) horse trials.
Collins pointed out that over the last 10 years about 3000 riders and their horses had competed for their schools in the event without incurring any serious injuries to any horse or rider.
The two horses that died were euthanized by the attending veterinarian at the event, held in Wandin North, a suburb in Melbourne.
"Every effort was made to save each of the horses but the injuries in both cases were irreversible. Neither rider was injured but one rider was taken to hospital for overnight observation.
"The two incidents were freak accidents that were in no way related to the manner in which the riders were negotiating the course."
Collins said an earlier fall of a horse and rider resulted in the rider being taken to hospital with a facial fracture. The rider was in hospital for 24 hours and needed an operation to realign her nose.
Collins said she and members of the organising committee wanted to extend their deepest sympathy to the riders, families and friends of the horses who died.
"We would also like to express our gratitude to the competitors, their parents and all spectators who assisted us by co-operating with our requests to remain clear of the area so medical and veterinary crews could work on the riders and horses.
"The concern, support and understanding displayed by all at the event are hallmarks of the strong bond that exists between members of the equestrian community."