“The entire equestrian community mourns this tragic loss,” said EC High Performance Director, James Hood. “Zara was not only a promising young athlete, but a remarkable individual whose presence will been keenly missed. On behalf of EC and OE, I extend our sincere condolences and deepest sympathies to Zara’s family and loved ones.”

Buren, 14, and her mother were riding along a property in Hamilton, ON, when her horse became trapped in a marshy bog. She dismounted but became submerged while waiting for help. Buren was pulled from the bog with no vital signs and transported to the trauma centre at McMaster Children’s Hospital, where she later succumbed to her injuries.

The horse was successfully extracted from the bog.

Buren’s unbridled enthusiasm and love for eventing was matched only by her promising talent. As the youngest member of OE’s Great Rider Intensive Training (GRIT) athlete development program, Zara is remembered as “inquisitive, dedicated, passionate and she lit up the room with the smile on her face,” said OE’s Executive Director, Tracey McCague-McElrea. “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 and coaches.”

Under the tutelage of Jill Stedman and EC Eventing National Team Program athlete, Holly Jacks-Smither, Buren focused her 2020 season on Second Level dressage and Training level eventing competition. Just over a week prior, she had placed third in the Glen Oro Autumn Horse Trials in Hawkestone, ON, sharing her contagious smile with those around and celebrating her current achievements, as well as those that were to come.

“Zara was a bright light not only as my student, but as my friend,” said Jacks-Smither. “I was so proud of her accomplishments as a rider but even more as a horsewoman. She always put her friends, family and horses first. Heaven has gained a special angel.”

EC and OE are working together to support Zara’s family and the eventing community at this time.

For questions, contact:

Brandon Hall
Director of Marketing & Communications
Ontario Equestrian
905-709-6545 Ext. 30

Caroline Soble
Communications Coordinator
Equestrian Canada
613-287-1515 x 109

– 30 –

NextGen Eventer, Zara Buren Passes After Accident While Trail Riding

PHOTO – Equestrian Canada and Ontario Equestrian extend deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Zara Buren of Oakville, ON, who passed away following an accident while trail riding on Sept. 21, 2020.
PHOTO CREDIT – Sean McKinnon

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