Riders can take every precaution while enjoying riding cross-country, but the unexpected can still happen, says a leading supplier following the tragic death of Georgie Campbell (not pictured).

5th June, 2024

Well-known figure speaks out in wake of eventing tragedy.

A leading supplier has cautioned about dumbing down the risks involved with riding following the death of a top event rider.

Georgie Campbell (36) suffered a fatal fall while competing at Bicton International Horse Trials on 26 May.

The tragic news prompted Malcolm Ainge, chairman of Shires Equestrian Products, to express his sadness at the loss, recount his own experience of a bad fall – and explain why equestrianism must not bow to the court of public opinion.

Malcolm Ainge writes…

“The equestrian world is extremely saddened by the recent death of Georgie Campbell at Bicton and condolences go out to her family. Fortunately, her horse was not injured.

“Riding is an activity where accidents happen, as in any sport. However, we live in a dangerous world and, without being morbid, no matter how many precautions are taken, we cannot account for the unexpected.

“I have had my own experience with a bad fall. I was hunting, approaching a fence with a slight rise in front of it. My horse took off too early - no doubt due to my untrained riding. 

“She caught her front hooves on the top of the fence. I landed face down in the mud thinking “where’s the horse?” Seconds later, she landed on top of me knocking every breath out of my body. 

“My horse got up and galloped off. When I finally managed to get to my feet, I thought I was going to die through lack of breath. Finally, I did manage to breathe and lived to tell the tale. 

“Fortunately, I had landed in soft plough - there was a clear impression of the Ainge body shape in the soil. Had I landed on hard ground, the outcome could have been very different.

“It took me a while to get over the experience and to gain confidence again; but I did, and went on to have some very enjoyable times riding across country.

“People who participate in the most extreme sports more often than not survive into old age.

“Those who participate in any sport accept the fact that they are putting themselves at a certain amount of risk. It would be a sad day if public opinion forced us to take all risks out of the activities in which we take part.”

Yours etc, Malcolm Ainge, chairman, Shires Equestrian Products.