Updated October 9, 2019
Morven Park is deeply saddened to announce that a rider fatality occurred during cross-country schooling on Tuesday, October 8, 2019.
Nicolle Villers-Amatt suffered a fall while jumping a log fence at the Preliminary level. The rider received immediate medical attention and was transported to a local hospital. The horse suffered superficial injuries.
Villers-Amatt, age 40, has been eventing since the 1990s. She competed successfully through the Advanced level and competed the great Theodore O’Connor at the beginning of his career at the Preliminary and CCI* (now CCI2*-L) level.
“It is with great sadness that me and my daughter lost my wife and mother yesterday due to a catastrophic riding accident,” said Neil Amatt in a statement on Facebook. “Nicolle died doing what she loved. It was quick and painless, and she was not alone – I thank Katie MacSwain for being with her. She was the best mother and wife any man could ask for.”
Villerse-Amatt lived in Hamilton, Virginia with her husband Neil and 2-year-old daughter Zara. She ran Five Point Performance Horses, a business developing young event horses and fox hunters.
“Details of Nicolle’s memorial service we will be announced at a later date. Please keep her mother and our daughter in your prayers,” concluded Amatt.
“The staff and Trustees of Morven Park are devastated to hear of the accident that occurred on course today,” said Sheryl Williams, Morven Park’s Executive Director. “We join everyone in the equestrian community in sending our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the rider involved.”
The USEA sends its deepest condolences to the rider's family, friends, and connections.
The 2020 show season has looked a bit different than any of us anticipated, and for many people season-planning was placed on hold. In an episode that was recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicole Brown and Diarm Byrne welcome international five-star eventer Will Coleman and British high performance veterinarian Spike "The Vet" Milligan to the show to discuss some of the considerations for planning your season from each of their unique perspectives.
Any riding exercise is about the art of the possible. This is especially true with jumping exercises, when a step too far will compromise safety. Exercises and a method should be developed progressively that build confidence and competence for both horse and rider, and in particular also allows room for error.
In the show jumping phase, where a ribbon can be won or lost based on a fraction of a second, it is important to understand the rules that determine how time is kept. After reviewing the rules concerning time and other show jumping penalties, one should also examine the rules that outline the faults incurred for each of the different types of penalties.
Sue Ockendon, organizer of the MARS Bromont CCI Three-Day Event and the FEI Eventing Nations Cup announced today that the event has decided to consider dates further along the calendar. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for Bromont to confirm that it would be possible for competitors to travel on August 15-18.