A talented teenage equestrian eventer died following a freak fall after her horse was spooked by a farm truck – driven by her friend.
Stunning public schoolgirl Lucinda Woolley, 16, started riding aged just three and had recently begun competing at national level.
But just ten minutes into a hack near her parents £800,000 country home tragic Lucinda was thrown from her mount, Alfie, after the truck startled the horse.
Lucinda’s mother Julia, 48, ran to her daughter’s side after Alfie return to its stable without Lucinda.
The teenager, known to friends as Lucy, was airlifted to hospital where surgeons operated on her for three hours but she died the following day.
It is believed Alfie is a professional eventing horse which Lucinda had only recently begun riding in the period before her fall.
Lucinda’s mother Julia and father, Peter, who owns his a media company, yesterday revealed they had agonised over letting her become so involved in the “dangerous” sport.
But the couple said they had respected Lucinda’s “passion” for riding and the natural “talent” identified by equestrian experts.
Mrs Woolley said: “On Wednesday morning she was doing what she did every day – have breakfast, go out on a laid-back hack and then get on with the rest of her day.
“It just so happened that on that pivotal occasion they had only got 10 minutes into their hack when Alfie got spooked by the vehicle – it was a fluke.
“The chap who was driving the tractor is a personal friend – fortunately they knew her and the horse.
“As soon as she had the fall, they were the ones who called the ambulance. I heard the horse come back to the stables and chased off to find her.
“I was there within five minutes of the fall.”
Heartbroken Mrs Woolley added: “Although she was very diligent with her school work, her passion was riding.
“She had been riding since the age of three and had had a succession of horses and her current horse was a professional eventer horse.
“She had got to the point of competing at British Eventing level – a very high level – and other people who were more expert than us were kind enough to say she was a very talented rider.
“Yes, it was a very dangerous sport and we had given a lot of thought to giving her the horse she had.
“We agreed that she could compete at that level and that’s what she lived for.”
Lucinda fell near her home in Chattisham, near Ipswich, Suffolk, last Wednesday and farm workers instantly ran to her aid.
She was airlifted to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, but despite surgeons efforts she died the following day.
The “beautiful” teenager and “diligant scholar” was a pupil at £12,000-a-year Ipswich High School for girls and was waiting to receive her GCSE results.
Lucinda, who has an 18-year-old sister Charlotte, known as Lottie, planned to switch to co-educational £12,000-a-year Ipswich School for her A-levels, from September.
Despite her tender years Lucinda had already competed against professional riders at a national level.
She was a part of the Essex and Suffolk Pony Club and had recently enjoyed a week in Milton Keynes with fellow club members.
Devastated Mrs Woolley said she and her husband Peter had tried not to tell their daughter too often how beautiful and talented she was in order to help her keep her feet on the ground.
She said: “First of all, she was beautiful.
“We didn’t try to tell her that because no parent wants to dwell on that.
“She was tall – taller than me – and was growing fast and had long blonde hair, down to her waist.
“She had the biggest smile and long, gangly legs and an amazing, infectious laugh and sense of humour.”
Lucinda had just returned from music Festival Latitude Festival, near Southwold, with her close group of friends before her death
Mrs Woolley said: “She had the best time with her friends at Latitude.
“She loved her riding but was uncertain about it as a career.
“She was hoping to study economics, geography, psychology and biology at A-level and was very enthusiastic, particularly about geography and economics.
“She was very determined, organised and focused. She was sporty and also played hockey and rounders for the school.”
Mrs Wooley said the response to her daughter’s death had been “absolutely phenomenal” and that she and her husband wanted to thank the emergency crews and hospital staff for their efforts and support over the past few days.
She said: “We had some fantastic help – the paramedics and ambulance crew, the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
“The team of people were phenomenal. We want to thank them for everything they did.”