A young event rider died yesterday in a cross-country accident at the Mitsubishi Motors Hartpury Horse Trials.

Emma Jonathan, 23, was competing in the CCI** when she had a fatal rotational horse fall at fence 19, an upright rail which was followed by an open ditch (fence 19a) and a skinny (fence 20b).

Emma was from Petersfield, Hampshire, and was riding her own nine-year-old El Nino, who was uninjured. She had ridden El Nino since the start of the mare’s affiliated eventing career in 2005 and the pair were competing in their first CCI**. They had had top 10 placings at intermediate and novice level this year and last.

Alex Fox, chairman of British Eventing, said: “On behalf of the whole sport, I would like to extend our deepest sympathy to Emma’s family. The thoughts and prayers of eventing people all over the UK are with them at this sad time.”

A full investigation is now being carried out into the accident.

The CCI** class was abandoned, with the horses which had not gone cross-country allowed to show jump today as a combined training event. Those which had already taken part in the cross-country also show jumped in order to gain their qualifications for further events. The CCI* and CIC*** competitions are continuing as planned.

Read more in Horse & Hound next week, on sale FRIDAY 15 August.