An inquest has recorded a verdict of accidental death on the case of a rider who died from head injuries after her horse bolted while riding in Windsor Great Park on 8 March this year. This was the second horse riding fatality in the park within five months.

East Berks coroner Peter Bedford heard how Sarah Richmond from Burghfield Common near Reading, was riding with a group of four people from Wayside Stables in Maidenhead when the accident happened.

Sarah, 30, and her friend Rebecca Haynes were in the lead when the ride’s escort, Mary Lazarus fell from her horse Hugo when he bucked for no apparent reason.

Rebecca told the court: “I was leading. I knew the route and we had slowed to a walk as we approached a dip in the track. I can’t remember if we had gone into a trot but Sarah was alongside me.”

“Suddenly, this riderless horse Hugo appeared in the middle of us. I was completely taken by surprise. Our horses bolted with him.”

After struggling to stop the horse she was riding, Rebecca turned around and saw Sarah lying face down on the sand track.

An air ambulance arrived on the scene within minutes but Sarah, who was described as an experienced rider, died from severe head injuries shortly after arriving at Wexham Park Hospital.

The coroner praised Rebecca and others at the scene for their efforts in trying to save Sarah and said: “The one lesson of this awful and unavoidable accident is that horseriding is a hazardous pursuit.

“Horses are not domestic animals and you cannot predict what they might do. Everytime you get on a horse you are taking risk, however competent and experienced a rider you are.”

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