14-Year-Old Ontario Eventer Dies in Trail Riding Accident

Photo via Zara Buren’s Facebook page.

We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of Zara Buren, a 14-year-old Canadian eventer who has died after being trapped in a marshy bog while riding out with her mother.

The Hamilton Spectator and other sources have reported details of the accident, which occurred in Flamborough, Ontario, on Monday evening.

Zara, who trains with Holly Jacks-Smither and Jill Stedman, was a GRIT (Great Rider Intensive Training) Team member involved in the provincial athlete development initiative. Two weekends ago she placed third in the Open Training division at Glen Oro aboard Make My Day. Earlier in the year she competed in Florida at Three Lakes, Rocking Horse and Ocala Winter II with Meadowbrook’s Pollyanna.

Eventers have taken to social media to share their remembrances.

Holly Jacks-Smither said, “Your infectious smile, your drive, determination, work ethic, love for your fellow riders and especially, what stood out to me most, your love for your horses and the pride and horsemanship you showed everyday. You were a strong force to be reckoned with. You were brave until the very end. An old soul who was not only my student but my friend.”

Sarah Shoniker wrote, “You were an amazing individual; a compassionate horsewoman, a bundle of infectious energy and always had a smile on your face even in the pouring rain and thunderstorms!”

Tracey McCague-McElrea, Executive Director of Ontario Equestrian, shared this statement with Horse Sport: “OE is devastated by the sudden passing of Zara. As the youngest member of Ontario Equestrian’s GRIT team, Zara was inquisitive, dedicated, passionate and always lit up the room with the smile on her face. Zara’s passion for this sport could be felt by everyone around her and her drive for excellence was inspiring. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, coaches.”

We share our very deepest condolences with Zara’s family, friends and connections.