Kiwi horse rider's loved ones mourn 'very special guy'

Tom Gadsby was tragically killed in a fall at Somerford Park Horse Trials in Cheshire. Photo / Facebook
Tom Gadsby was tragically killed in a fall at Somerford Park Horse Trials in Cheshire. Photo / Facebook

Friends and family of a New Zealand equestrian rider killed during a cross-country event in England have taken to Facebook to mourn the "very special guy with a huge heart''.

Tom Gadsby, 26, was killed in a fall at Somerford Park Horse Trials in Cheshire.

He was competing in a one-star class event on The Drover when his horse tripped at a fence yesterday afternoon (UK time).

Amanda Redditt said Tom first came into her life as a pony loving 13-year-old who desperately wanted a pony.

"I gladly gave you Muffy & watched the both of you learning together & you having so much fun with her,'' she wrote.

"I was honoured to have known you as a friend, you had a heart of gold and a huge personality to match. It is such a waste to lose not only such a hugely talented rider but a truly lovely person as well.''

Natalie Fraider said Tom was "the most wonderful person'' to have in her life.

"We have lost a part of our heart today but you gave us such wonderful memories to hold onto forever. You even started a tradition of `Bubbles Nights' and we will celebrate your life with one. Love you always Tom. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to your family.''

Nicholas Fyffe said his life was "swiftly put into perspective'' when he heard of Tom's death.

"My thoughts go out to his family having lost him so young. Such devastating news for the equestrian community worldwide. May he rest in peace.''

Equestrian Sports New Zealand (ESNZ) chief executive Jim Ellis said the sport was deeply saddened by the news.

"On behalf of ESNZ members I express our sincerest condolences to Tom's family and close friends,'' he said in a statement.

"Tom was a talented showjumper and eventer who was in Europe to fulfil 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 said everyone was saddened and shocked.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom's family at this really sad time,'' he said.

Originally from Kerikeri, Tom had competed to intermediate level in eventing in New Zealand.

After many years competing at grand prix level showjumping, including two successful years in Germany, he made a change back to eventing in 2012.

He had been competing in the UK since last year and was based near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire.

British Eventing, ESNZ and the International Equestrian Federation will investigate the incident, as will relevant UK authorities.

- APNZ

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