Teenage rider and her horse die after cross-country training accident

A 13-year-old girl and her horse have died following a cross-country schooling accident.

US teenager Ashley Stout and her horse, Avant Garde, were training at Standing Ovation Equestrian Center (SOEC) in Halfmoon Township, Pennsylvania when the accident happened on 11 July. It is believed they had a rotational fall.

A statement from the centre said: “Tonight we mourn an unfathomable loss; two incredibly beautiful souls. Words cannot express. Life is so precious and fragile.

“Ashley Stout may you & Avant Garde jump through the clouds together for eternity.”

The young rider had been a member of the US Eventing Association (USEA) since 2016 and successfully evented during the past three years.

She started riding Avant Garde, a seven-year-old Westphalian gelding, in the spring and the pair jumped clear across country in their 15 USEA starts together.

They won the junior/young rider open training division (equivalent to BE100 level) at the New Jersey region’s horse trials in June and were second in the preliminary/training (equivalent to novice dressage and showjumping, with BE100 cross-country) at Bucks County Horse Park horse trials last month.

In 2017, she won a national title, taking the junior beginner novice under-14 section at the USEA American Eventing Championships, riding Deo Volente. The combination finished on their dressage score of 19.8 in the competition, which is run at BE80 level.

Ashley and Avant Garde had been chosen to ride on the area II young rider training three-day team at Rebecca Farm this month.

A statement from USEA said the area II young rider programme is promoting the use of the hashtag “#ride4Ashley” in her memory.

“The USEA sends its heartfelt condolences to all of Stout’s parents, Susan and Craig, family, friends, and connections,” added the statement.

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