Horse rider killed in tree crash

POLICE and the Health and Safety Executive have launched a joint investigation into the death of a horse rider who was killed after he collided with a tree.

Christopher Watson, a 61-year-old retired businessman from Leicestershire, died following the accident in Side Hill Gallop in Cheveley, near Newmarket.

It is understood Mr Watson was riding a gelding called Kadouchski prior to the accident, which is being treated as a death in a workplace by the Health and Safety Executive.

Mr Watson retired a year ago and had returned to riding as a hobby.

He started riding once a week on a hobby basis with Newmarket trainer John Berry in the summer.


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Mr Berry last night told how the death of Mr Watson had left the racing community shaken.

“We used to look forward to the day he came down to ride. He was a breath of fresh air.

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“He had ridden a lot as a young man but, as is often the case, his profession was not his passion. Riding was his passion and he returned to that in retirement.

“If I can say anything positive at all about what has happened, it is that he died amongst friends doing what he enjoyed. He came over here once a week at his own expense.

“It has shaken up the whole community and myself and everybody in the stable have been overwhelmed by the way the community has rallied around.”

It is thought Mr Watson, who brought his own saddle with him to ride, might have lost a stirrup during the ride along Newmarket Heath.

It is believed that somehow the stirrup might have become detached from the saddle, rather than Mr Watson simply losing his footing.

A police spokeswoman said: “Suffolk Police were contacted by the ambulance service shortly after 11am following reports that a male horse rider had struck a tree off Side Hill Gallop in Cheveley, Cambridgeshire.

“Officers arrived and found the body of a 61-year-old man from Leicestershire. Due to the circumstances involved in the incident, police contacted the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who are leading the investigation into the man’s death.”

A spokeswoman for the HSE said: “We are aware of the death and are carrying out an investigation.”

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