A young international event rider suffered a fatal accident while competing at the Ratomka Horse Trials today (10 September).
Russian Nikita Sotskov and his horse Larry Carlton had a rotational fall at the second-last cross-country fence of the CIC3* course in Minsk, Belarus.
The FEI said medics were on the scene immediately after the accident, “but sadly the rider could not be saved”.
Larry Carlton suffered a minor leg injury.
“It is with a very heavy heart that we confirm the devastating loss of one of our community in this tragic accident at Ratomka today”, said FEI secretary general Sabrina Ibáñez.
“Nikita Sotskov was one of Russia’s promising young riders and this news will have a profound effect on all those involved in the sport.
“On behalf of the FEI and the global eventing community, I extend our sincere condolences to Nikita Sotskov’s family and friends in the sport, and to the Russian and Belarusian equestrian federations.”
Nikita, 21, had represented Russia at two European championships, as a junior and a young rider, and was experienced at 2* level. Today was his first 3* competition.
The official FEI statement on the incident read: “Safety in equestrian sport is a top priority for the FEI and all national federations, and the FEI is working continuously to make the sport as safe as possible for all athletes, both human and equine. The circumstances of today’s accident will be fully reviewed.
“David O’Connor (USA) has been nominated to chair the FEI risk management working group which will focus on coordinating initiatives on a global basis, including technology developments, data and statistics, as well as further educational outreach for athletes, course designers, coaches and technical delegates.
“The working group’s remit is to look at all options to minimise risk factors and is in addition to the FEI’s continual work focused on improving safety in the sport.”
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Ground jury president Natallia Yuranava said that at all FEI events, “maximum consideration” is given to the safety and welfare of horses and riders.
He added: “On behalf of the whole sport I would like to extend our deepest sympathy to Nikita Sotskov’s family.”
The Belarus equestrian federation also expressed “deepest condolence” to Nikita’s family.
Nikita is the fourth rider to have died as the result of a cross-country fall in the last six months.
Olivia Inglis, 17, died from injuries she sustained in a fall in a national two-star competition at Scone Horse Trials, Australia, on 6 March. Caitlyn Fischer, 19, suffered fatal injuries in the one-star at the Sydney International Horse Trials on 30 April.
Philippa Humphreys, 33, died as a result of injuries sustained in a fall on the CCI3* cross-country course at the Jersey Fresh International Three-Day Event in New Jersey, United States, on 14 May.