Event rider was wearing substandard body protector when he died, reveals inquest

  • An inquest into the death of Jordan McDonald at Nunney Horse Trials last year has reported that his body protector did not meet British Eventing safety standards.

    The 30-year-old Canadian rider (pictured above riding Prince Mayo at Aston Le Walls) was competing Only Me in a novice section at Nunney in Somerset on 14 June, 2014. The pair had a rotational fall at fence 7a on the cross-country course and Jordan suffered “fatal chest injuries”, the inquest found.

    When returning a verdict of accidental death, Tim Hayden, assistant coroner for East Somerset, said: “The horse struck the jump with its front legs and slowly rotated across the jump and on to the other side, throwing its rider, Jordan McDonald, to the ground and landing full square on top of him.

    “There were multiple fractures on each side of the ribcage, four on one side and five on the other and a laceration of the lung which made the process of resuscitation very difficult and subsequently impossible.”

    Accident and emergency consultant Dr Michael Whitlock, who was on duty at the event, said that Jordan’s body protector – which was from Canada – would not have met British Eventing safety standards, set in 2000. He was not also wearing an air jacket, which are optional under British Eventing rules.

    “The horse and the saddle and stirrups fell on the rider, with the saddle causing most of the damage,” he said.

    “The area where the lung was damaged probably had no protection. It is difficult to predict the severity of the injuries if a Class Three body protector would have been worn.

    “It is possible that the laceration to the lung could have been avoided, which would have given the doctors more chance of saving his life.”

    The coroner said: “Given the evidence I have heard about the importance of back protectors in the possibility of a death not being a death, I hope that British Eventing will look again at that section of the rules.”

    British Eventing has responded with a statement saying: “Following the outcome of yesterday’s inquest, BE would like to confirm that they are reviewing the current rules contained within the Members’ Handbook.”

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