We are saddened to report that 21-year-old Nikita Sotskov of Russia died today while competing in the CIC3* at Ratomka Horse Trials in Minsk, Belarus. Nikita and his horse Larry Carlton rotated over fence 21 — the second to last jump on course — and Nikita could not be saved by on-site medical specialists. The horse suffered a minor injury to its left hind leg.
Nikita represented Russia at two European Championships as both a junior and a young rider. Ratomka was his first CIC3* attempt.
“Nikita Sotskov was one of Russia’s promising young riders and this news will have a profound effect on all those involved in the sport,” said FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez.
Ratomka’s President of the Ground Jury Natallia Yuranava said, “At every FEI event, the maximum consideration is given to the safety and welfare of horses and competitors. On behalf of the whole sport I would like to extend our deepest sympathy to Nikita Sotskov’s family.”
Safety is at the forefront of the minds of eventing participants be they competitors, owners, organizers or officials. “Safety in equestrian sport is a top priority for the FEI and all National Federations, and the FEI is working continuously to make the sport as safe as possible for all athletes, both human and equine. The circumstances of today’s accident will be fully reviewed,” read the FEI’s statement on the accident.
The statement also said that the USA’s own David O’Connor has been nominated to chair the FEI Risk Management working group, a group which “will focus on coordinating initiatives on a global basis, including technology developments, data and statistics, as well as further educational outreach for athletes, course designers, coaches and technical delegates. The working group’s remit is to look at all options to minimise risk factors and is in addition to the FEI’s continual work focused on improving safety in the sport.”
Our thoughts are with Nikita’s family and friends in this difficult time.