Tragedy befell a young girl after the horse she was riding in an equestrian event collapsed on top of her and landed on her head.
Hannah Serfass was participating in the Fox Lea Farm Spring Concours in Venice, Florida when the horse upon which she was mounted tripped, suffered what is being called a rotational fall, and ended up crushing the poor rider’s head, according to a statement released by the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF)
“Hannah, 15, was riding Quaxx 2, a 12-year-old Holsteiner gelding, in an equitation class when the horse tripped and suffered a rotational fall,” the USEF statement claimed. “The fall was unrelated to a jumping effort.
“The USEF, USHJA, and Fox Lea Farm team wish to extend our deepest condolences to Hannah’s family, support team, and friends,” the statement continued.
A follow-up report from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the fall was unrelated to a failed landing, but rather an unfortunate and tragic misstep by the animal that led to a series of ultimately fatal proportions.
“This action caused the rider to then topple forward and off the horse in the same direction and onto the ground,” the report explained. “The horse then continued to fall in the same direction falling over and onto the rider’s head on the ground.”
The statement continued, “Hannah from Webster, Fla., was a very talented up-and-coming young rider who trained with Robin Swinderman. She was known for her passion for horses, her natural ability, and her work ethic.”
According to one outlet, rotational falls are the “leading cause of death and serious injuries” in the equestrian world. While the exact antecedent leading to Quaxx 2’s stumbles are and might remain unknown, what seems abundantly clear is that the freak accident leading to Hannah’s death is not unheard of in the equestrian world.
Sportskeeda, citing The Grassroot Gazette, wrote:
The Grassroot Gazette says rotational falls are the leading cause of death and serious injuries when it comes to equestrian sports. It refers to a horse hitting a fence with its forelegs or chest. When this leads to the horse and rider’s body being thrown forward, it can have the fence act as a pivot point, resulting in the horse landing on top of the rider.
Several top performers have experienced rotational falls in the past, including Darren Chiacchia. After the accident he was in a coma, suffering from a traumatic brain injury, a collapsed lung, and broken ribs.
The Republic Monitor remembered young Hannah as a “talented equestrian” who had gained national recognition, writing:
Hannah Serfass was a talented equestrian who was associated with Fox Lea Farm, a nationally recognized horse show facility based in Venice, Florida. She had a bright horseback riding career and was well-known for her accomplishments.
She was one of the youngest contestants in her division at the SE Finals Children’s Medal in 2021, where she placed second. In addition, Serfass, who was competing in the class for the first time, took home the Hamel NHS 3’3 Medal.
annah had competed in gymnastics earlier in her childhood and also competed on her middle school’s track and field team.
Featured image: Hannah Serfass, Facebook
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