OLYMPIC hopeful Katherine Morel has died aged 33 after her horse landed on her in a horror accident.
The Canadian equestrian star passed away as a result of serious injuries sustained a “rotational fall”, during a competition in Florida, USA.
A rotational fall is the technical term for when a horse somersaults and lands on its back.
In this case, Morel’s horse, Kerry On, landed on its back with the 33-year-old caught underneath.
Morel had been taking part in the Rocking Horse Winter III Horse Trials when the accident occurred at fence eight of the intermediate level-cross country course.
She was taken to Waterman Hospital in Tavares, Florida immediately after the crash.
But both Morel and Kerry On – a former racehorse – died from their injuries, with Equestrian Canada (EC) releasing a statement revealing the tragic news.
High performance director James Hood said: “Today, the equestrian industry lost not just an exceptional athlete, but an exceptional person, as well as the horse she loved.
“On behalf of EC, I extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the friends and family of Katharine, as well as to the entire team who surrounded Kerry On.”
Hood went on to reveal Morel had been making a name for herself and was vying for a place on the national team, in this Olympic year.
He continued: “Katharine was just entering onto our radar of international events.
“She was a great developing athlete and a great person.”
EC revealed it would be working with US Equestrian to investigate the tragic accident and would be looking at news ways to help rider – and horse – safety.
Morel and Kerry On had been together for five years, with the Canadian star discovering the horse at the age of three.
In 2018, she revealed how their relationship began, saying: “I had a horse who I kind of maxed out with and I needed a new prospect.
“I came upon a three-year-old thoroughbred mare named Kerry On.”
“She was a horse who wasn’t racing well — in fact, in her last race before I bought her, she walked out of the starting gate. She just wasn’t a runner.
“I looked at her, and you just kind of get to see them in the stall, not even ride them, but I just liked her instantly.
“I had no idea if she would even want to jump anything. But I took a chance on her.
“It took her a few years of training to get her feet and she has turned out to be phenomenal.”