Experienced horse rider killed after tragic accident

Police officers examine the roadside on Sywell Road, Overstone, after a rider died when thrown from her horse.
Police officers examine the roadside on Sywell Road, Overstone, after a rider died when thrown from her horse.
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The death of a “vibrant, fun-loving” horse rider who was thrown from her animal was a tragic accident, an inquest has heard.

Janette Smith was riding her horse Rio in Sywell Road, Overstone, on February 18 when it became spooked and threw her into the air.

An inquest at Northampton General Hospital on Wednesday, July 18, heard her helmet flew off and she hit her head hard on the ground, inflicting the fatal injury.

The inquest heard Miss Smith’s horse had bolted for no apparent reason, and she was unable to regain control of it.

But no explanation was able to be given for the helmet coming off, as witnesses told the hearing that Miss Smith, 28, of Somerford Road, Wellingborough, was safety-conscious and would never ride without ensuring her helmet was fastened properly.

Witness Susan Martin, of Irthlingborough Road, Finedon was walking her dog in Overstone Road at the time of the incident.

In her statement to the inquest, Miss Martin said she had seen Miss Smith riding alongside a second horse and she “fell very hard, and the horse galloped off.”

Van driver Lee Shilton, of The Manor, Billing Garden Village, Northampton was following the two horses.

His statement, read out in his absence, said both horses had become spooked and Miss Smith’s horse had bucked its back legs and threw her into the air.

He said: “I saw her helmet fly off when she was in the air. I guess it was a tragic accident.”

Riding partner Sarah Giles, of Colmead Court, Blackthorn, Northampton, told the inquest Miss Smith’s helmet was definitely done up before they set off.

Family and friends paid tribute to Miss Smith.

Dad George said: “She was a vibrant, fun-loving person who had many friends. Since she was young she had a love for horses.

“Janette was the love of our lives and will be so sadly missed by her family and friends.”

Friend Jane England, of Hatfield Close, Wellingborough, said: “I have known Janette since she was a young girl and she has been passionate about horses throughout her young life.

“Janette was totally safety-conscious. She would never mount without ensuring her helmet was fastened and secured.

“She was a lovely girl who tragically died doing what she loved the most.”

Coroner Anne Pember recorded a verdict of accidental death.