A sheriff has ruled that nothing could have been done to prevent a champion horse rider’s death.
Natasha Galpin, who was from Laggan in the Highlands, died in January 2019 after she sustained serious head injuries.
She had come off the horse, Eagle Crag, at Hetlandhill Stables in Dumfries on January 15.
The horse had suffered a haemorrhage after rupturing an artery between its throat and ear.
Ms Galpin landed on her head as a result and lost consciousness.
In the aftermath of the incident, Ms Galpin was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow after initially being assessed at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary.
She never regained consciousness and died on January 16.
Medics concluded that Ms Galpin had died as a result of a brain haemorrhage sustained from the fall.
Sheriff Brian Mohan has ruled that the 22-year-old’s death was a tragic accident when delivering his written verdict following the fatal accident inquiry at Dumfries Sheriff Court.
‘No precautions could have avoided the accident’
Sheriff Mohan ruled: “There are no precautions which could reasonably have been taken and which might realistically have avoided the accident or Natasha’s death.”
He said the accident was a result of “a sudden rupture of the carotid artery” of the horse, likely to have been caused by a mycotic infection of the arterial wall.
Sheriff Mohan also said evidence from investigations by police and the health and safety executive could not find any faults at Ms Galpin’s place of work.
‘She died doing something she loved’
Sherriff Mohan added: “Natasha Galpin’s parents are devastated by the loss of their daughter at such a young age.
“She was on the cusp of adulthood. Her death was sudden, and she died doing something she loved.
“Natasha died as the result of a tragic, immediate, unforeseen and unforeseeable accident.
“The riding of horses carries risks, but the evidence demonstrated that there was no foreseeable risk which could have avoided this tragedy, and no step which could have been taken realistically to prevent this.”
He concluded: “I would like to express my condolences to the family of Ms Galpin and my thanks for the hard work and detailed preparation of the solicitors who participated at the hearing.
“My conclusion is that Natasha’s death was the result of a tragic, unpreventable accident.”
An accomplished championship winning horse rider
Ms Galpin had begun riding horses around the age of six and had previously won the Scottish Championships for eventing.
She started working for Iain Jardine Racing Limited on a part-time basis in April 2017 as a work rider, before taking on a full-time role as a stable lass in June of that year.
In her role, she was entrusted with looking after the horses on a day-to-day basis and riding horses for exercise purposes.
On the day of the accident, Ms Galpin was wearing the required safety equipment, including a body protector and industry-standard safety helmet.
An experienced and valued team member
At the time of her death, her employer Iain Jardine said staff were distraught but had rallied around each other.
He said that Ms Galpin was an “experienced and valued” team member.
He concluded that his thoughts and prayers were with Ms Galpin’s parents.