‘The world has lost an angel’: 15-year-old rising eventing star killed in training accident

  • The Irish equestrian community is mourning the loss of a rising star of eventing, who died in an accident in training yesterday (16 June).

    Tiggy Hancock, 15, was seriously injured during squad training in Greenogue, Dublin. She was taken to hospital, where she later died.

    Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) is among those who have paid tribute to Tiggy, who won a pony bronze medal for Ireland in 2019, a year after she started eventing.

    “Tiggy was a highly talented young athlete and a respected member of our pony high performance eventing programme,” an HSI spokesman said. “A keen equestrian for many years as a member of the Carlow and Kilkenny Hunt Pony Club and very successful working hunter pony competitor, Tiggy only began eventing in the autumn of 2018, making an immediate mark on the sport.

    Following a run of impressive performances in 2019, she was selected to represent Ireland at the under-16 European eventing team championships in Poland, where she and her team mates secured a team bronze medal.”

    Tiggy had also been enjoying success against senior riders this year, finishing fourth and sixth in the CCI2*-S at Millstreet this month, on Coppenagh Spring Sparrow and Monarch of the Glen respectively.

    “Tiggy was well liked among both junior and senior members of the Irish equestrian family and her passing will be mourned by all,” the HSI spokesman said.

    “The Hancock family are known throughout Ireland for their commitment to the equestrian community and those who know them will share in their grief.”

    A friend wrote on Facebook that “the world has lost an angel today”.

    “The most caring, sensitive, intelligent, motivated and truly gifted equestrian rider in the world, at only 15 Tiggy has achieved more than most of us will do in a lifetime,” she said.

    “Her passion for her ponies and horses could not be matched, but more so the truly inspirational little lady that is Tiggy touched so many lives giving only joy with that HUGE smile that always beamed from her.

    “We will all miss you Tiggy Hancock, you have taken a piece of all of our hearts. We hope you are in your ultimate pony heaven.”

    The British Show Pony Society (BSPS) paid tribute to an “exceptional and talented young rider who was much loved and admired among our [working hunter pony] WHP competitors”.

    “Her accomplishments are numerous in the WHP world but she was especially good at the Gold Cup competitions, winning many of the qualifiers,” the society said in a statement.

    “We were all so proud of her accomplishments particularly when she was selected to represent Ireland at the Under-16 European eventing team championships in Poland, where she and her team mates secured a team bronze medal.

    “She will always be remembered for her winning smile and great enthusiasm and love for her sport. She will be sadly missed by us all.”

    The HSI spokesman added: “The loss of a young person is always particularly hard to comprehend. This will be a difficult time for many of Tiggy’s team mates and friends in the sport. Horse Sport Ireland has a designated support person to assist individuals affected, and would encourage them or their parents to come forward to seek support. Please email: support@horsesportireland.ie”

    HSI asked that the family’s request for privacy at this time is respected.

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