Mum Of Teen Killed In Equestrian Event Held Concerns Over Course
The mother of a teenage equestrian who died during a competition in Sydney three years ago held concerns over certain jumps on the course, an inquest has heard.
Caitlyn Fischer, 19, died from a blunt force head injury when her horse erred before a jump, fell and landed on top of her at the Sydney International Horse Trials in April 2016.
Just weeks earlier, another equestrian -- Olivia Inglis, 17 -- was similarly killed during a March eventing competition in the NSW Hunter region.
Deputy state coroner Derek Lee is now examining the circumstances surrounding both deaths at a two-week inquest in the Lidcombe Coroners Court.
Counsel assisting Peggy Dwyer said during her opening address that the beautiful, clever and vibrant teenagers were both competing at extremely challenging levels and had spent many years working their way up to qualify with their respective horses.
They both died during the cross-country phase of eventing, which is "widely recognised as one of the toughest equestrian disciplines for both horse and rider".
Dwyer said Fischer's mother, registered nurse Ailsa Carr, saw her daughter and horse Ralphie fall as they attempted the second cross-country jump.
The horse seemed to be progressing well until he did something that made him miss his stride.
"She [Carr] was the first to reach her daughter and when she got there she found that Caitlyn was motionless," the lawyer said.
"In short, Ailsa was able to tell immediately that Caitlyn had passed away."
Fischer's death came seven weeks after Inglis also died in a rotational fall on her horse, Coriolanus, during the cross-country phase of the Scone Horse Trials.
The teen had competed with the horse at almost every cross-country event in NSW and their record was impeccable, Dwyer said.
Inglis' mother Charlotte -- a highly respected rider herself -- was concerned about jumps on the course that day and discussed those concerns with Olympic champion Shane Rose.
The inquest will consider a number of issues including whether safety procedures at NSW equestrian events were adequate to minimise the risk of serious injury or death, and whether physical aspects of the courses contributed to the deaths.
Dwyer noted Equestrian Australia had already introduced significant changes to the sport.