Equestrianism: Fall claims Phillipps' life

THE DEATH of 30-year-old Polly Phillipps brought the Scottish Open Championships to a tragic and premature end yesterday at Thirlestane Castle, near Lauder in the Scottish Borders.

Phillipps sustained fatal injuries when her mount, Coral Cove, took off too early at sloping parallel rails, the 10th of 28 fences on the cross- country course which had caused little trouble beforehand. The rider was killed instantly and the remainder of the championships were cancelled, leaving thousands of sombre and silent spectators to make their way home from this normally happy event.

This is the third fatality in the sport this year, following the deaths of Peta Beckett at Savernake in May and the Australian rider, Robert Slade, at Wilton 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 exonerated by the Judicial Committee of the International Equestrian Federation in a statement which read: "There was no deliberate attempt by Polly Phillipps to affect the performance of Coral Cove." She was still waiting to hear the date of her appeal against a one-month suspension which had been imposed.

Vere Phillipps, Polly's husband, had returned to Doncaster from Millstreet in County Cork, Ireland, when he heard about the fatal accident.

Polly, 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.

She had 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 in which she suffered concussion, a broken collar-bone, plus injuries to her back, ribs and the optic nerve in her right eye. She had fought back bravely, only to suffer a fatal injury just over four months later.

Suggested Topics
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn