A 17-year-old showjumper has died in a riding accident.

Australian rider Serena Stanley suffered fatal injuries in a fall on Sunday (28 January).

Serena grew up in Maleny on the Sunshine Coast and had recently moved to Melbourne for a job at a stud, which was where the fall took place.

The talented rider won numerous Pony Club awards and was the inter school national showjumping champion in 2015.

Countless tributes have been paid to the teenager.

“Serena was well known as a talented, skilful and brave rider, particularly excelling in the jumping discipline,” said a spokesman for Nambour Pony Club, of which Serena was a member.

“Serena will be remembered as a friendly, kind girl, who always had a smile and an encouraging word for those around her.”

Nambour Pony Club has invited its members to wear an aqua blue armband, ribbon, or saddlecloth at its jumping weekend (3-4 February).

There will also be a minute’s silence on Saturday and Sunday “to reflect on the life of this lovely girl, taken far too soon”.

Maleny and District Horse and Pony Club also paid its respects to Serena.

“We are devastated by her loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family,” said a club spokesman.

“We will of course support them in any way we can.”

Serena’s godmother Laina McCoy gave a moving tribute to local press.

“Serena had great courage with horses and a great affinity,” she said.

“She was dedicated, very independent. She excelled in every sport she did, she was fabulous at school too.

“The community has all helped raise our girls so this heartbreak is the community’s heartbreak. There’s not a place you can go in town that isn’t broken.”

Serena’s best friend Ayla McCoy said Sereena has been “really excited” about her new job.

“She was always so independent and wanted to do new things all the time,” she said.

Serena leaves behind her parents River and Sandy, and siblings Jesse and Bradley.

A GoFundMe page (www.gofundme.com/serenastanley)
has been set up to help Serena’s family and donations can also be made at the Ananda Marga River School.

A memorial service will be held at the equestrian centre at Maleny Showgrounds on Sunday (4 February) at 3pm.

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