A DEVASTATED dad watched in horror as his young daughter fell off a pony and died after it became spooked during a hunt, locals have said.
The girl, two, was with members of The Bedale Hunt at Kirkby Fleetham, Hambleton, when she fell in North Yorkshire.
Paramedics rushed to the scene last Wednesday, and the child was taken to hospital where, tragically, she later died from her injuries.
Villagers told MailOnline that the toddler's family, including her father, saw the fatal fall which is believed to have happened on their own land.
It's understood her dad was leading the young girl on a lead rein when the tragic accident occurred.
One local suggested: "All we can think of is that something must have spooked the horse."
Another man said: "The timing of the accident chimes with when we heard the hunting horn.
"I understand there were three horses with a toddler and a very young toddler. The young one must have slipped off."
He described the girl's death as a "terrible, terrible tragedy" for her family, adding that the entire village "is shocked".
The fatal fall reportedly took place on Penfold Terrace, a country lane heading into fields surrounding the village.
Officials at the Bedale Hunt said members are “completely devastated but pulling together” for the girl’s family, the Northern Echo reports.
Our sincere condolences go to all those affected.
In a statement, a hunt spokesperson said: "We can confirm that a tragic accident happened on Wednesday, 15th September, when a two-year-old girl fell from her pony and subsequently lost her life.
“As a community we are all completely devastated but are pulling together to support the family involved.
“Our sincere condolences go to all those affected and we urge that everybody respects the family’s privacy during what is a very distressing time."
North Yorkshire Police are compiling a report on behalf of the coroner following the little girl's death, as enquiries continue.
Of her tragic fall, the force said: "It occurred at around 8am on Wednesday (15 September 2021) and the girl died at hospital during the early hours of Thursday.
"The girl’s family are receiving specialist support while enquiries are ongoing into the incident.
"Police request that the family’s privacy is respected at this very difficult time."
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