Mexican polo great Carlos Gracida has died from serious head injuries sustained in freak accident during a match.

Carlos, 53, was playing in Florida for his Santa Clara team yesterday (Tuesday 25 February).

Carlos with his brother Memo who is also in the hall of fame

Carlos with his brother Memo, who is also in the polo hall of fame

It has been reported that another player accidentally struck Carlos’ pony with his mallet. Carlos’ pony was stunned, whipped around and hit him on the head. Carlos then fell off and the pony rolled on top of him.

It is thought that the player was unconscious when he was rushed to Delray Medical Center and never regained consciousness.

Carlos held a 10-goal handicap in the USA from 1985 to 2000 and was inducted into the Polo Hall of Fame in 2012.

Carlos was a cover star of Horse & Hound in 1995

Carlos was a cover star of Horse & Hound in 1995

He was a favourite instructor with celebrities and royalty, giving lessons to Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry as well as King Constantine II of Greece and actor Sylvester Stallone.

gracida 5Peter Rizzo, of the U.S. Polo Association said: “It’s a shocking loss to everyone in polo. We know his family and his friends. We’re all grieving. He was one of the top 2 or 3 players of all time.”

Luis Escobar from the Santa Clara polo team told H&H:”We lost a polo legend and a friend”.

The pony was not seriously hurt in the accident.