A French event rider has died while competing in an international event in Chateaubriant, France.

Maxime Debost and his horse Qurt de Montplaisir suffered a rotational fall at fence 11 of the CCI1* cross-country course today (23 September).

Medics were at the scene immediately, but the 29-year-old’s life could not be saved.

The rest of the day’s cross-country competition was cancelled and police and the FEI are “conducting a full investigation into the circumstances of the incident”.

“This is a really tragic accident and I know I speak on behalf of everyone in the equestrian community in expressing our grief at this terrible news about Maxime Debost,” said FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez.

“Maxime was a very experienced rider who had been competing internationally for the past 12 years and his loss will affect so many people in our community.

“On behalf of the FEI and everyone in the global eventing family, I extend our sincere condolences to Maxime’s family and his many friends in the sport, and to the French equestrian federation.

“We are working tirelessly to minimise the risk factors in our sport, particularly in eventing, and today’s accident brings home just how important this work is.”

Father of one Maxime had been competing internationally since 2005, including completing the CCI4* in Pau in 2010 with ITHaurel.

He finished third at Chateaubriant last year on Qurt de Montplaisir, who he also rode to ninth place at the Nations Cup event in Haras Du Pin last month. The 13-year-old Selle Francais gelding was uninjured in today’s fall.

Pascal Leborgne, president of the ground jury, said: “On very rare occasions a rider loses their life during a three-day event. This loss is a tragedy. On this sad occasion, the organising committee and the eventing world offers Maxime Debost’s family their thoughts and prayers.”

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