Axminster huntsman’s death an accident

Retired solicitor fell after his mount lost its balance in woods

AN AXMINSTER huntsman died after suffering severe crush injuries in a fall from his horse, an inquest heard.

Anthony Robert Osborne, 66, of East Membury Farm, near Axminster, died on March 2, during a joint ride out with Cotleigh and Axe Vale Hunts.

The retired solicitor fell from his horse, George, after it lost its balance when riding in Parehaynes Wood near Moorland House.

Mr Osborne had met with members of the Cotleigh and Axe Vale Hunts, who separated into groups for a ride out.

Witnesses said he had chosen to ride the so called ‘wild track,’ which was described as a narrow and difficult track to negotiate.

The inquest at County Hall in Exeter heard last Thursday that Mr Osborne’s horse had lost its balance trying to negotiate a steep hill, losing its front footing causing Mr Osborne to pull back on the reigns, which saw the horse lose its rear footing.

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The 66-year-old fell to the ground and his horse fell directly on top of him.

Horse trainer, Nicola Raulph, who was riding that day, said there were no circumstances leading up to the incident where his horse would have been spooked and it had been very well behaved that day.

Mr Osborne was airlifted to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital where he later died of his injuries.

The deputy coroner for Central and Mid Devon Darren Salter recorded a verdict of accidental death and said the medical cause of death was due to abdominal haemorrhaging caused by a ruptured spleen, severe crush injuries to the chest wall and multiple rib fractures.

He said: “I am satisfied with the evidence available that at a time of approximately 3pm on March 2, 2011, the deceased was riding his horse on a narrow route in Parehaynes wood when the horse slipped and fell back crushing the deceased. The verdict therefore is accident.”