Tributes paid to amateur eventer who died after schooling fall

The equestrian world is mourning the loss of pioneering neuroscientist and amateur eventer Melanie Tallent, who died on 11 October from injuries sustained in a cross-country schooling accident.

The US rider, 55, was a life-long horse lover and lived on a farm in Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Creek with her husband, Gordon Lutz, and two horses. These were Dulin, who she competed at training level (the US equivalent of BE100) and Gadwall, who she rode at novice (BE90).

She received her PhD in neuroscience from the University of Pennsylvania in 1995. In her 25-year professional career, Ms Tallent served as an academic with a National Institute of Health-funded research laboratory, which focused on the treatment of neurological diseases.

Most recently, she was the chief scientific officer of biotech firm LifeSplice Pharma, which she co-founded with her husband.

Many have remembered her as a “kind, wonderful woman” and a brilliant scientist.

“Melanie was tireless and unrelenting in her career devoted to improving the lives of patients with diseases such as epilepsy and ALS [Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — also known as motor neurone disease],” said a tribute by US Eventing (USEA).

“Melanie is mourned by the equestrian community of southeastern Pennsylvania, by her colleagues in the field of neurological research, and by her family and friends.

“The USEA sends our sincerest condolences to Melanie’s family and friends.”

A memorial service will be held on Saturday (October 26), with donations in her memory to the CURE Epilepsy Foundation or ALS Hope.

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