SADLY, there were reports in the Irish Horse World pages throughout the year on some very tragic deaths involving those in equestrian sports.

In the first issue of 2021, we read that the Duhallow huntsman, Ger Withers, had “lost his life after being attacked and trampled by a stag he had gone in to feed at the North Cork kennels”.

We also read of the unexpected death of Co Mayo show jumper David Corcoran.

In February, “The untimely death of 38-year-old British event rider Matthew Wright sent shockwaves through the eventing and wider equestrian communities around the world.” ... Wright “had been outspoken on his struggles with his mental health which had led him to set up Riders Mind, an online website dedicated to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of all equestrians.”

Unfortunately, young riders here too died in similar circumstances.

The death in a training accident in June of pony event rider Tiggy Hancock stunned the horse world in Ireland and further afield.

Many tributes were paid at the time, and since then, to a very talented rider in whose memory a trust has been established to provide mental health support, training and education to children in equestrian sports.

In July, we learned of the death in a vehicle accident in Spain of former Irish Pony Club tetrathlete Gabriella Weaver, while on the last day of November, former Killinick Pony Club member Dylan Boggan (23) suffered a fatal injury when kicked by a horse he was putting on a walker.

There were of course tributes paid to many others who died during the year, having lived their lives to the full.