Popular joint-master died of ‘traumatic brain injury’

  • Joint-master of the Cottesmore, Gems McCormick, died after her horse landed on her an inquest has heard.

    The 44-year-old died after a fall out hunting on 4 November. She suffered serious head injuries.

    Ms McCormick was hunting with the Fitzwilliam (Milton) Hunt when the accident happened.

    She was taken to Addenbrookes hospital, where she died two days later.

    The inquest at Huntingdon registry office this week (16 February) recorded a verdict of accidental death.

    Senior coroner for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough David Heming said: “Gemma died on 6 November 2015, at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge from a traumatic brain injury caused when she was riding a horse in a Fitzwilliam Hunt meeting at Milton Park on the 4 November 2015. Having jumped a rail she then slid off on landing and the horse then rolled over her.”

    The coroners office highlighted the “dangers of wearing decorative, cork riding hats”.

    “It is one of these types of hat that we believe Gemma was wearing at the time,” a spokesman told H&H.

    A spokesman for the Countryside Alliance told H&H: “Adults who go hunting are, of course, entitled to make their own decision as to their headwear, however the evidence is indisputable that if you are wearing an up-to-spec safety helmet you are much more likely to survive a fall that involves a blow to the head.”

    After the accident tributes poured in for the rider.

    “Gemma was a tremendous supporter of hunting and her death was a real blow to hunting community in Leicestershire and beyond,” said Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance.

    Gems was a supporter of Team GBR international showjumper Holly Gillott, owning Elore and having an involvement with Holly’s former top horse Dougie Douglas.

    “She gave me a real leg up,” Holly told H&H at the time.

    “I wouldn’t have done all I have in the sport without her. She didn’t have much interest in showjumping but she must have seen something in me to give it a go, and she really helped me. She was a great support to me.”

    Photographer Nico Morgan told H&H Gems was “one of the most generous and helpful people I have ever known”.

    “She was loving her hunting and it is fitting that she should pass doing what she loved most,” he added.

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