A show jumper and polo player from New York died earlier this month following a fall in a low-goal match at the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Florida.

Tracey Mactaggart, 46, died on 12 February — the sport’s second fatal accident in the US in less than two years.

According to witnesses, Mrs Mactaggart was playing with her husband, Philip, on their Hawk Hill team in the Outback eight-goal league on 8 February when she collided with a team-mate. As she fell, her pony rolled on her, causing severe brain trauma. Doctors operated, but she died of her injuries four days later.

Mrs Mactaggart was an accomplished rider, having competed extensively as a show jumper before taking up polo several years ago.

“This was a tragic accident to an experienced rider,” said Peter Rizzo, executive director of the US Polo Association. “Our safety committee will be reviewing it, hoping the family will provide medical records and the helmet she was wearing.”

High-goal patron Skeeter Johnston was killed in a similar accident in Florida in April 2007.

Fatal accidents are rare in polo, but last autumn in the UK, club owner Bryan Morrison died after two years in a coma following a fall (news, 2 October 2008), the third death from the sport here since the war.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (26 February, ’09)