Tributes Pour in After 26-year-old New Zealand Rider Dies in ‘Tragic Accident’
New Zealander Tom Gadsby, a young horse rider, died after falling from his horse during an eventing competition in Cheshire, England on Sunday. Tom, a Kerikeri native, was riding on the cross-country course at Somerford Park international horse trials when he was fatally injured after he and his horse fell at a hurdle.
The Guardian reports that Cheshire police were called at 3pm to a report that a rider had fallen from his horse, and a spokesman said he was pronounced dead at the scene in “what appears to be a tragic accident”.
Louise Gadsby, the rider Mother, told the Waikato Times about how proud she has been to watch her son compete days earlier. “When I was listening to the announcers talking about Tom, when he was riding, they were saying: I wonder who is going to knock him off the perch this time,” she said.
“He was becoming really well-known really quickly and I just felt at last he’s got the chance to be where he wants to go.”
Mrs Gadsby had spent a week travelling with her son in Paris and London prior to the event, and described their trip as a “special time”.
“I just thank God that I went over there and we had that time together.”
Gadsby was based with international eventer Tiny Clapham near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire and had been competing in the UK since last year, a statement on the Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) website said.
Chief executive of ESNZ, Jim Ellis, said the whole equestrian community was shocked by the news. “On behalf of ESNZ members I express our sincerest condolences to Tom’s family and close friends,” he said.
“Tom was a talented showjumper and eventer who was in Europe to fulfill his dream of competing as a professional event rider – a dream he achieved but which has been tragically cut short.”
Chief executive of British Eventing, Mike Etherington-Smith, said people were shocked and saddened at Gadsby’s death. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom’s family at this really sad time,” said Etherington Smith.
Fellow event riders paid tribute to him, one describing him as a ‘very special guy with a huge heart’. Racing presenter Clare Balding was one of many to express her sadness at the news, calling the death “devastating news” and “just awful” on Twitter.
British Eventing, ESNZ and the International Equestrian Federation will investigate the incident.