New Zealand horse rider Tom Gadsby, killed in a riding accident in Britain overnight, had been living his dream to compete as a professional event rider.
The 26-year-old rising star, who was from Kerikeri, had high hopes of representing New Zealand at the top level, Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) said.
"Tom was a talented showjumper and eventer who was in Europe to fulfill his dream of competing as a professional event rider - a dream he achieved but which has been tragically cut short," ESNZ chief executive Jim Ellis said.
He was competing at the Somerford Park International Horse Trials in Cheshire when he was injured in a fall at a fence on the cross country course about 2.30pm yesterday (local time).
The horse he was riding, seven-year-old skewbald gelding The Drover, was not injured.
Ellis said the equestrian community was deeply saddened by Gadsby's death.
"On behalf of ESNZ members I express our sincerest condolences to Tom's family and close friends," he said.
He thanked colleagues at British Eventing, their officials and medical staff who did everything possible for Gadsby after his fall.
Gadsby had competed up to intermediate level in eventing in New Zealand before deciding to concentrate on showjumping. After many years competing at grand prix level showjumping, including two successful years in Germany, he decided to make the change back to eventing in 2012.
He had been competing in Britain since last year, and this year gained a ride on Cambridgeshire-based international eventer Tiny Clapham's young eventing horses, ESNZ said.
Gadsby had considerable success at the lower level and had high hopes of representing New Zealand at the top level of the sport.
British Eventing chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith says everyone was truly saddened and shocked.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom's family at this really sad time," he said.
British Eventing, ESNZ and the International Equestrian Federation are to investigate the incident, along with authorities in Britain.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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