Rider killed instantly by bolting horse

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A rider was killed instantly when a horse bolted and sharply pulled a rope up around her neck, causing it to break.

Kathryn Bull, a 39-year-old vastly experienced horsewoman, was then dragged across a field for around 150 metres, an inquest was told this week.

The tragic accident happened at the Cross Lane Equestrian Centre in Blidworth in April, a business she had run for years.

Nottinghamshire Coroner’s Court heard that Kathryn, of Main Street Blidworth, had not been riding at the time but was preparing horses in the field that day to be taken an equine dentist.

She was stood close to two animals and had managed to get the head collar on one and attached a lead rope.

Although there were no witnesses, it is thought the animal- which was not known to have a bad temperament - was then spooked and made a run for it.

The rope was thought to have been around Kathryn’s shoulder but then pulled sharply on her neck.

Pathologist Ian Scott told the coroner she had suffered a craniospinal trauma, a fracture which would have caused ‘virtually immediate death’.

Other injuries, including grazes to her front were caused by the horse then dragging her.

Because no grazes were found on her hands, he said it suggested there had been no struggle and again pointed to her being unconscious.

Her body was found a short time later in the field still next to the horse.

Jane Gillespie, the assistant corner for Nottinghamshire, described Kathryn as an “extremely experienced horse handler” and had worked with the animals all her life, achieving a level three NVQ in horse care.

She said that Kathryn was so knowledgeable that people would often come to her for advice on horses.

Kathryn’s husband of 14 years, Steve, told the coroner’s court that “no-one will ever know” why the rope had been up around Kathryn’s shoulders moments before the horse bolted.

He added: “The big question is how the lead rope got around her neck - she obviously attached the head collar to the horse and attached the lead rope. The practice is to not put it on your shoulder.”

Coroner Jane Gillespie added: “No-one has ever seen her put a guide rope around her shoulders or her neck. I’m sorry there are not more answers for her family, it was unwitnessed and anything else would be guesswork.

“The lead rope turned into a ligature and I hope there’s some comfort to her family that she did not suffer.”

A verdict of accidental death was passed.