‘She died doing what she loved’: event rider suffers fatal injuries in cross-country fall

An event rider has died as a result of an accident while cross-country schooling in the US.

Mother of one Nicolle Villers-Amatt fell as she was jumping a log fence at Morven Park International Equestrian Center in Leesburg, Virginia, yesterday (8 October).

The 40-year-old was treated immediately by medics and taken to hospital but her life could not be saved.

Ms Villers-Amatt had been eventing since the 1990s, competing up to advanced level (fence height 3’11”). She also rode the diminutive Theodore O’Connor, later ridden at the top level by US rider Karen O’Connor, at CCI* level early in his career.

Her husband Neil Amatt said in a statement: “It is with great sadness that me and my daughter lost my wife and mother yesterday due to a catastrophic riding accident.

“Nicolle died doing what she loved. It was quick and painless, and she was not alone – I thank Katie MacSwain for being with her. She was the best mother and wife any man could ask for.

“Details of Nicolle’s memorial service we will be announced at a later date. Please keep her mother and our daughter in your prayers.”

Mrs Villers-Amatt lived with her husband and two-year-old daughter Zara in Hamilton, Virginia. She ran Five Point Performance Horses, which produced young hunters and eventers.

Morven Park executive director Sheryl Williams said: “The staff and trustees of Morven Park are devastated to hear of the accident.

“We join everyone in the equestrian community in sending our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the rider involved.”

The horse Mrs Villers-Amatt was riding sustained superficial injuries.

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