Girl, 9, on Shetland pony died when bigger horse ‘got spooked and kicked her in the chest’

James Chamberlain, who was senior Master of the Hunt at the time but has now retired, said the hunt had no rules about children taking part but felt it would not have made a difference.

“If poor Bonnie had been supervised one to one I fail to see how it would have made any difference,” he said.

Bonnie was a pupil at St Hugh’s preparatory school in Faringdon, Oxfordshire, where her father Nick Armitage, 40, is a deputy head and housemaster.

Her mother Polly’s father, the Rev Canon Andrew Bowden, was appointed a Chaplain to the Queen in 1992.

In a written statement read to the court, her father said: “Bonnie could ride before she could walk. She was a very competent rider and had been off a lead rein for years.”

Joanna Ireland, who saw the accident, said Bonnie was “perfectly” under control of her pony at the time.

Eyewitnesses said Bonnie was about a horse’s length behind Mr Gifford when his animal kicked out and struck her, knocking her to the ground.

Mr Gifford told the inquest that he only realised something had happened when a tiny pony went past him “like a bullet” and he turned to see her lying there with her “big blue eyes”.