Written by Diana Dobson
It is with great sadness that Equestrian Sports New Zealand confirms that New Zealand eventing rider Tom Gadsby was fatally injured in a fall on the cross country at Somerford Park Horse Trials in Cheshire, UK overnight.
The 26-year-old rising star was based with international eventer Tiny Clapham near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, and had been competing in the UK since 2012.
Tom was competing in a one star class on board The Drover when the accident happened at fence 4B at approximately 1420 hours (UK time) on Sunday, August 18.
The seven-year-old skewbald gelding was not injured in the incident. Tom's death has brought an out-pouring of sadness from the international eventing world.
Equestrian Sports New Zealand chief executive Jim Ellis says the whole equestrian community is deeply saddened by the news.
"On behalf of ESNZ members I express our sincerest condolences to Tom's family and close friends," he said. "Tom was a talented showjumper and eventer who was in Europe to fulfill his dream of competing as a professional event rider - a dream he achieved but which has been tragically cut short."
He thanked colleagues at British Eventing, their officials and medical staff who did everything possible for Tom after his fall. British Eventing chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith says everyone is truly saddened and shocked.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom’s family at this really sad time," he says.
Tom, whose home town is Kerikeri in Northland, competed up to intermediate level in eventing in New Zealand before deciding to concentrate on showjumping. However, after many years competing at grand prix level showjumping, including two successful years in Germany, he decided to make the change back to eventing in 2012.
Just this year he gained the ride on Tiny Clapham's young eventing horses, with considerable success at the lower level. He had high hopes of representing New Zealand at the top level of the sport.
British Eventing, ESNZ and the International Equestrian Federation will investigate the incident as will relevant UK authorities.
ESNZ and Tom’s family wish to thank NZ media outlets who respected the request to delay releasing Tom’s name publically until his close family were all informed of the tragedy.