A TEEN equestrian star was crushed to death after her horse somersaulted and fell on top of her, an inquest heard today.
Iona Sclater, 15, had been riding at her family’s country estate in Abington Pigotts, Cambs, when the tragedy unfolded.
The teenager was one of the sport’s rising stars and had been longlisted to take part in the 2019 European eventing championships in Poland.
An inquest into her death heard how horse Jack had “somersaulted” before landing on top of Iona after he fell at a 1.32m-high hay bale.
Horrified family members rushed over to help the teen but she was sadly pronounced dead at 12.36pm on August 11 after going into cardiac arrest.
A post-mortem gave a cause of death as a crush injury to the chest, the hearing was told.
The fall would have been unintentional and in those circumstances I find that, very tragically indeed, Iona died as a result of an accident
Assistant coroner Simon Milburn
Recording a verdict of accidental death, assistant coroner Simon Milburn said: “Iona suffered a fatal crush injury caused when the horse she was riding landed on top of her following a fall.
“The fall would have been unintentional and in those circumstances I find that, very tragically indeed, Iona died as a result of an accident.”
Her parents Charles and Hetty, both 48, and sisters Lara and Alicia were said to have been left heartbroken by the tragedy.
Charles is a former British Army captain and Hetty is a former eventing rider. Her grandfather, Lieutenant-Commander Edward Sclater, owns the land where Iona died.
British Eventing paid tribute to Iona, describing her as one of the sport’s brightest young stars.
A statement said: “British Eventing was devastated to receive the news that one of our young members and bright stars in the sport, Iona Sclater, sadly died in a riding accident at home on Sunday 11 August.
“Our thoughts are with Iona’s friends and family at this very difficult time.
Iona you are a legend and we will love you forever. Another angel gone too soon
Friends previously posted heartfelt tributes to the teenager on social media, describing her as a ‘legend’ and ‘the most thoughtful person ever’.
One pal wrote: “Iona, you were the most delightful, talented and personable young lady I know with a very bright future ahead of you.”
Another added: “Another equestrian gone too soon. Iona you will be dearly missed and my thoughts go out to your family and friends. You were such a big part of the equine community and will never be forgotten.”
A fellow friend said: “Iona was the kindest, most thoughtful person ever. She would always pick people up when they were down and enjoyed every moment with everyone.
“Iona you are a legend and we will love you forever. Another angel gone too soon.”
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“Iona was an exceptionally talented and dedicated young event rider.”
Iona won a British Eventing Under-18 competition at Stratford Hills in Essex in June on her pony Foxtown Cufflynx.
She also represented her region four times at the U18 regional team championships.