Horse dies, rider fractures skull during polo match

CROZET, Va. — A horse died and a rider fractured her skull during a polo match on Sunday in northern Virginia.

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The female horse, named Fortuna, died after experiencing an aortic aneurysm at the King Family Vineyards in Crozet, The Daily Progress newspaper of Charlottesville reported.

“She (the horse) collapsed just as she got onto the field,” Ali King, a trainer at the Roseland Polo Club at King Family Vineyards, told the newspaper on Monday. “It is so unlucky there was a rider on her when this happened.”

The horse collapsed during a match between Team Roseland and Team Jamaica, WCAV-TV reported. Officials with Team Roseland said the horse died from a preexisting condition and was not related to the weather in the area, according to the television station.

The injured rider was a member of visiting Team Jamaica, The Daily Progress reported. King said the woman received a minor skull fracture and was released from an area hospital on Monday morning. She is expected to make a full recovery, according to the newspaper.

“The rider had been playing for a number of years,” King told The Daily Progress. “This is a freak and unpredictable incident.”

In a statement posted to Facebook, King Family Vineyards said the match was shortened after the horse’s fall.

“Horses, to us, are not just participants but our closest companions and teammates. Safeguarding their well-being, along with the rider, is our priority,” the company wrote. “We have a dedicated, caring team that looks after our horses around the clock, and it is devastating to us that this event has occurred. Fortuna was a sweet, beloved member of our teaching program and will be greatly missed.”