A 15-year-old girl competing in an equestrian competition died after her horse fell on top of her during the event.

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Sarasota County firefighters were called to Fox Lea Farms at 800 North Auburn Road on Sunday after rider Hannah Serfass was injured during the hunter/jumper event.

Deputies said Serfass was about halfway through the course when the horse planted its left front hoof for an unknown reason, which caused the horse to lean down significantly.

The action caused the Serfass to topple forward and fall off the horse and onto the ground, police said.

The horse continued to fall in the same direction and fell onto the rider’s head, police said.

Fox Lea Farms staff members and others began first aid on Serfass until firefighters arrived to take over.

They recently took to Facebook and wrote, “Fox Lea Farm had a tragedy occur today. Out of respect to the family, no information will be shared at this time. We send our sincere condolences to the family, trainer, friends, & the whole equestrian community. We are all heartbroken”. While the information wasn’t divulged, news broke out more recently that the concerned individual to die was Hannah Serfass.

A bright and ambitious life cut too short

From a very young age, there were no doubts about Serfass’s skills as a horse rider. She was a home-schooled sophomore, who competed in the race track team of Wildwood Middle High School. She was associated with the Fox Lea Farm, a privately owned and nationally recognized horse show facility in Venice, Florida.

Sadly, it was the same Fox Lea Farm, where Serfass was riding her horse when in a freak accident her horse flipped. Serfass fell, and her horse fell on top of her. Unfortunately, the weight and the crushing pressure of the giant animal were too much for the 15-year-old to handle.

Earlier this year, a similar incident happened with 16-year-old Alexis Halbert, where her horse Charisma landed on top of her. It severely hurt her and made her unconscious. However, after a miraculous recovery from her spine injury, Halbert lived to see another day. Sadly, such wasn’t the case for Serfass.

The 15-year-old has left an indelible mark on the horseriding community. In 2021, Serfass won the Hamel National Horse Show at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. For it, she won the 3’3 medal in her first-time appearance there.

The same year, aged 13, the World Equestrian Center Magazine featured Serfass. The magazine quoted her as saying, “It kind of pulled me in (Horses). I just got into it and never wanted to stop. And now I just want to learn everything I can about it. I want to keep going with it”.

Revisiting those words of her, which clearly showed her ambition, goal, and passion for the sport even as a 13-year-old, makes her demise even more devastating. The whole equestrian community will mourn her loss.