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Girl killed in road riding accident

Fifteen-year-old, Rowena Smith, was crushed to death by her horse on Saturday after it hit an oncoming car, reared on to the bonnet and fell backwards, pinning her to the ground.

The accidenthappened while she was out hacking in the village of Whiston, near Sheffield in South Yorkshire.

A doctor who lives nearby tried to save her but she had suffered severe head, chest and neck injuries and died on the way to hospital.

Police spokesman from South Yorkshire Police, Jim Greensmith, told Horse & Hound Online that witnesses have reported she was travelling ” at speed” for several hundred yards on the main road through the village after coming out of a side turning. The police said theroads were not that busy at that time in the morning – around 10am.

“It is an appalling tragedy. We now have to try to find out why Rowena was unable to stop the horse before the collision. The horse may have been startled by something butat this stage we don’t know,” he said.

Rowena lived with her parents, Graham and Gillian and older sisters, Rebecca and Lydia. The seven-year-old dapple grey gelding, Lorenzo, had been given to her at Christmas and she is said to have been an excellent rider.

Her family said in a statement: “Rowena was a loving and popular girl. She was kind and caring. Her many friends will miss her deeply. She was precious to all her family who are devastated and shocked at what happened. Her life was to be around horses.”

The driver of the car was unhurt but is reported to be in severe shock. The injured horse was later destroyed by a vet.

Spokesperson for the BHS, Nicola Gregory, says: “It’s difficult to comment on the case without knowing the details. But we would always recommend anyone going on the road takes our Riding and Road Safety Test. Everyone says they learn a lot from it. Even if people don’t take the test, then do the training. You will pick up a lot of useful tips from it.”

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