TALENTED horse rider Ella Pallister died as the result of a tragic accident, a coroner has said.

An inquest at County Hall in Dorchester was told how the 17-year-old was injured after her horse refused a fence.

The Thomas Hardye student was in the warm-up arena preparing for a show jumping competition at Kingston Maurward Equestrian Centre on January 27.

Dorset Coroner Sheriff Payne said: “This was a very tragic accident. It would appear that all the appropriate measures were taken.

“She had the proper experience and knew what to do.”

The inquest was told that Ella’s foot became stuck in the safety stirrup after her horse refused a fence.

Evidence was given that she may have been unconscious before hitting the ground as the horse ‘pecked’, lifting its head up suddenly and striking Ella’s forehead.

A young witness also suggested Ella, who lived in Portesham, and whose family have strong links to the Bridport area, hit her head on the wing of the jump as she fell and that the horse kicked out.

She was taken to Dorset County Hospital and later transferred by air ambulance to Southampton General Hospital.

Reading a report from consultants at the hospital, Mr Payne said doctors battled to save her despite an extensive skull fracture and severe brain injury.

She died three days later on January 30.

PC Hayley Greening, of Dorset Police, conducted an investigation into Ella’s death and told the inquest the youngster had jumped the practice fences several times ‘without incident’ and was about to be called in to compete.

She said: “In my view Ella was a keen and talented rider.

“It seems the horse refused the jump. The horse’s head went down low, pulling Ella forward out of the saddle.

“She fell in an unusual position and her left foot stuck in the stirrup which would have been unlikely had she been responsive.”

PC Greening added: “The horse stood still before walking, trotting and cantering a short distance. The way she was dragged suggested to me she was not responsive.

“The horse then kicked out, Ella’s foot came out of the stirrup and she lay on the ground. This was a tragic and unavoidable accident.”

Mr Payne recorded a verdict of accidental death.

“This was quite clearly an accidental death. In this case, as always, it is tragic that a young girl her age came to grief following a sport she loved.”