Early Reports Show Rolex Accident Was an Error

Laine Ashker's crash during the RK3DE was ruled an accident

According to the Associated Press, United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) President David O’Connor says Laine Ashker’s tragic crash during the 2008 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, which ran April 24-27 at the Kentucky Horse Park, was probably due to error.

In a statement, O’Connor said a preliminary investigation into the accident shows Ashker and her mount, 16-year-old Frodo Baggins, misjudged the flower basket obstacle during the cross-country phase of the three-day event.

The ensuing crash left 24-year-old Ashker with collapsed lungs, as well as broken ribs, a broken jaw, and a broken clavicle and scapula. She is in stable condition, but is breathing with the assistance of a ventilator at the University of Kentucky Hospital. Frodo Baggins, a Thoroughbred gelding, was euthanized as a result of injuries.

At a different cross-country jump at the Rolex event, The Quiet Man, a 12-year-old gelding, fell with his rider, Sarah Hansel. The horse was euthanized on April 27 as a result of a severe shoulder injury. A necropsy is being performed. Hansel was not seriously injured.

O’Connor himself is an accomplished three-day event champion, having ridden at the Olympic level and competed at Rolex several times.


  1. God, we have GOT to make these xcountry courses more safe! Why don’t ALL of the fences fall away? That could have saved Frodo and the Quite Man as well as make the injuries not as bad on the riders.

  2. God, we have GOT to make these xcountry courses more safe! Why don’t ALL of the fences fall away? That could have saved Frodo and the Quite Man as well as make the injuries not as bad on the riders.

  3. Well, all riders know how dangerous eventing can be, so they take the risk. However, I’m not sure the horses understand – they don’t have a choice – and aren’t given one!

  4. A lot needs to be done to keep these types of “accidents” and “errors” from happening. It is costing lives and injuries to all involved.

  5. I love horses and I love eventing; but I HATE hearing about this stuff! I’m sitting here trying not to cry because of the deaths of the horses and the riders’ injuries. I know it isn’t the riders’ fault or our faults as equestrians, but it upsets me so much to know that those animals trust us so much and give their whole hearts, and they get injured and die. I just don’t want them to hurt. Or their riders either for that matter. It’s no one’s fault, and it isn’t the sport’s fault, but it is still upsetting when these things happen. My prayers go out to the family of the injured rider, and to the people who loved the horses.

  6. Of course there was an error. Most accidents are because of an error somewhere. This should not be used as a way to further penalize the industry. Everyone who rides knows that that thing under them also has a brain. Many of the videos I’ve seen of riders falling suggest to me that we are failable humans on failable horses. The Country western song says keep your mind in the middle while your butt spins around. When your mind isn’t in the middle and connecting with your equine partner you are going to fall sooner or later. Some of the riders forget the partnership and think they are driving a car. Until they learn other wise we will see falls. Best wishes go out to Laine for a speedy recovery and condolances for the loss of her friend.

  7. She went too fast. She always went too fast. Yes, there was an error — one of judgement and common sense. In her quest for power and glory she killed her horse. She has to live with that and the sport will have to explain itself in terms of safety and control of irresponsible riders.
    And while we are at it — Sarah Hansell’s ride on the Quiet Man also warrants a good deal of discussion. Unlike Laine Asher, who has some experience at this level, Hansell did not look like she belonged there at all. I saw them go through the sunken road before the footbridge. Let’s just say, the problems did not start at the fence that cost “Mikey” his life.

  8. Even though this is extremely late. I am responding to what Catherine said. You are so wrong you have no idea. You don’t say that, the horse jumped it wrong. You should definitely not blame lainey for that. And as for what you said about Hansell, watch your mouth why do you have to be so rude like seriously. I’ll come and judge you and put you down just like you put them down. Therefore watch what you write because you never know who will see it.


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