Thursday 23 March 2017

Tragic trainer's daughter warns of industry risks

'Spooked' horse's kick proved fatal

Georgina O'Halloran and Allison Bray

THE daughter of a champion trainer who died after being kicked by a horse spoke yesterday about the dangers of the job.

Sue Doyle (59), of The Farmyard, St Edmundsbury, Lucan, Co Dublin, was helping a friend with two horses when she was kicked by one of the animals in June.

The horse became "spooked" after the Mrs Doyle grabbed it by its head-collar, an inquest heard yesterday

Mrs Doyle's daughter, Tamso, who is also a keen horsewoman and the marketing manager for Horse Racing Ireland, told the Irish Independent of the family's loss following her mother's tragic death.

"We think of her every day," Ms Doyle said last night.

"But there are risks with horses. Even though she was a horsewoman all her life, accidents happen."

Simon Walford, of Trim, Co Meath, told Dublin County Coroner's Court yesterday he asked Mrs Doyle to hold the gate as he led a three-year-old filly out of the field.

Mrs Doyle entered the field and took hold of a three-year-old gelding by grabbing its head-collar.

Mr Walford told her not to bring the horse in as she did not have a rope so Mrs Doyle, a mother of two daughters, let go of the animal.

But after she did so, the gelding kicked Mrs Doyle with its hind foot.

"She fell to the ground in pain," Mr Walford told the inquest.

Mr Walford ran to his house and told his wife to call an ambulance.

Earlier that day -- June 4, 2011 -- Mrs Doyle had watched the Epsom Derby with Mr and Mrs Walford at their home.

Mr Walford said the fact that Mrs Doyle was 'a stranger' to the horses may have disturbed the animals.

"They don't like a strange person going into the field," he said.

Accident

He agreed with coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty that the action of catching the horse by the halter had "spooked" the horse.

Health and Safety Authority inspector Peter O'Connell, who carried out an investigation into the incident, said it was an "unfortunate accident".

Ms Doyle was rushed by ambulance to James Connolly Memorial, Blanchardstown, where she died later that night.

Her death was caused by shock due to blood loss due to laceration of the liver caused by a horse kick to her right chest and abdomen.

The coroner said it was very clearly an accidental death.

"It was just an error of judgment," he said.

The jury of eight men and two women returned a verdict of accidental death.

The coroner expressed his condolences to Ms Doyle's family and to her two daughters Tamso and Izabella, who attended the hearing.

Mrs Doyle's husband Paul, who had also been a horse trainer, died 25 years ago.

Among the numerous winners Mrs Doyle trained was Bold Jessie, who claimed first place in the Tattersalls Breeders Stakes in 1990 with a prize of £281,071 -- the third richest of that year in Ireland.

Irish Independent

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