Morven Park International Equestrian Center in Leesburg, Virginia, announced that a rider fatality occurred on the cross-country course on Oct. 8 during an open schooling day.
Nicolle Villers Amatt, 40, of Hamilton, Virginia, suffered a fatal fall while jumping a preliminary-level log fence. She received immediate medical attention and was transported to a local hospital. The horse, which has not been identified, had superficial injuries.
“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 in a statement to the U.S. Eventing Association. “We join everyone in the equestrian community in sending our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of the rider involved.”
Amatt was mother to a 2-year-old daughter, Zara, and wife of Neil Amatt, a huntsman with Loudoun Fairfax Hunt (Virginia).
An experienced eventer, Nicolle competed to the advanced level and rode Karen O’Connor’s famous five-star pony Theodore O’Connor during his early career. Most recently she was competing Kingsman’s Pride at preliminary.
She ran Five Point Performance Horses where she developed foxhunters and eventers.
“It is with great sadness, that me and my daughter lost my wife and mother yesterday, due to a catastrophic riding accident,” wrote Neil in a Facebook post. “Nicolle died doing what she loved. It was quick and painless, and she was not alone. I thank Katie McSwain for being with her. She was the best mother and wife any man could ask for.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been established to assist Nicolle’s family with expenses associated with her death and to help support them in the coming months.