Top international rider killed instantly in fall from her horse
Monday 23 August 1999
Phillipps, 30, sustained fatal injuries in a fall during the competition at Thirlestane Castle, near Lauder in the Scottish Borders.
The accident happened when her horse, Coral Cove, took off too early at sloping parallel rails, the tenth of 28 fences on the cross-country course. She was killed instantly and the remainder of the championships was cancelled, leaving thousands of sombre and silent spectators to make their way home.
This was the third fatality in the sport in Britain this year, after the deaths of Peta Beckett in May and the Australian rider, Robert Slade, in June. Both Beckett and Phillipps, well known for their verve and courage, were on the squad for the World Equestrian Games in Italy last year.
Phillipps, who finished seventh and best of the British, was subsequently embroiled in an acrimonious controversy after a urine sample from Coral Cove, taken on the final day of the World Games, was found to be over the permitted level of the pain-killing drug salicylic acid. It led to disqualification for the team, which meant the loss of team bronze medals and Olympic qualification.
Phillipps was later exonerated by the Judicial Committee of the International Equestrian Federation in a statement that read: "There was no deliberate attempt by Polly Phillipps to affect the performance of Coral Cove."
Vere Phillipps, Polly's horse-dealing husband, was looking for new purchases at Millstreet in Co Cork, Ireland, when he heard about the fatal accident. It was there, about five years ago, that he first saw Coral Cove and bought him.
Polly Phillipps, who was individual and team silver medallist at the Junior European championships in 1986, was studying for her veterinary finals when she first completed the three-day event at Badminton in 1992. "I was too busy mugging up on pig vetting to be worried about the cross- country," she had said after that achievement. She established her own veterinary practice, specialising in horses, at Rampstone in Leicestershire, where she often travelled on her rounds by bicycle while getting fit for major events.
She was among the leading contenders this year at Badminton, where she also had a horrific fall during May.
She suffered concussion, a broken collar-bone, and injuries to her back, ribs and the optic nerve in her right eye. She had fought back bravely, only to suffer the fatal injury just over four months later.
Singer was ordered not to 'blow her rape whistle' in song 'Vegas'
Mr and Mrs Smith star admits she's 'never been comfortable on-screen'
Co-creator Mark Gatiss dropped some very intriguing hints ahead of the BBC drama's return next year
It is a crazy place to play in summer, writes Paul Scholes
It was all about Liz’s cocaine-fuelled brainwave, 'The Metwork'
- 1 American-born Boris Johnson refuses to pay hefty US tax bill
- 2 Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 John Smid: Former leader of US ‘gay cure’ group has just married a man
- 4 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 5 Pastafarian former porn star Asia Lemmon allowed to wear colander in driving licence photo
Duchess of Alba dead: Billionaire Spanish duchess who lived life by her own rules, dies at 88
These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
Mike Nichols dead: The Graduate director dies suddenly following cardiac arrest
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
US fire chief caught on camera 'refusing to help crash victims because they're black'
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Argyll Scott International: Senior Perl...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM - A high qu...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has bec...