A 33-year-old equestrian rider and her horse died after a horrific fall during a competition in Florida on Saturday.
Katharine Morel of Alberta, Canada, and her horse, Kerry On, were killed when the eight-year-old Thoroughbred had a “rotational fall,” which occurs when a horse somersaults onto its back during a jump attempt with the rider, according to the CBC.
The fatal accident occurred at the eighth fence of the Rocking Horse Winter III Horse Trials in Altoona, Florida, USA Today reported.
Kerry On, who Morel discovered five years ago, experienced serious injuries and died shortly after the fall. Morel was immediately transported by Lake County Emergency Medical Services to Waterman Hospital in Tavares, but later succumbed to her injuries.
“Today, the equestrian industry lost not just an exceptional athlete, but an exceptional person, as well as the horse she loved,” Hood said in a statement posted to the Equestrian Canada website. “On behalf of EC, I extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of Katharine, as well as to the entire team who surrounded Kerry On.”
“Rotational falls are generally the most dangerous falls we see in equestrian sport,” James Hood, a director at Equestrian Canada, told the outlet. “And they often have very serious injuries that result from them.”
A video from July 2019 shows Morel and Kerry On riding through the course of Rebecca Farm in Kalispell, Montana. In the footage, Kerry On appears to leap over several fences with ease.
In an interview with The Sherwood Park News in 2018, Moral recalled how she was introduced to Kerry On.
“I had a horse who I kind of maxed out with and I needed a new prospect,” Morel told the outlet. “I came upon a three-year-old thoroughbred mare named Kerry On.”
“She was a horse who wasn’t racing well — in fact, in her last race before I bought her, she walked out of the starting gate,” Morel continued. “She just wasn’t a runner. I looked at her, and you just kind of get to see them in the stall, not even ride them, but I just liked her instantly. I had no idea if she would even want to jump anything. But I took a chance on her. It took her a few years of training to get her feet and she has turned out to be phenomenal.”