Well-loved horse enthusiast Melanie Walters died Thursday as a result of injuries received in a training accident at her parents’ farm in Langley.
It’s believed Walters was training a two-year-old when it accidentally flipped onto her. She died during surgery at hospital.
Walters, 37, is survived by two young children, Caden, 7, and Laurel, 8.
Walters’ friend and fellow jumper Laura Balisky started a fundraising page for Walters’ two young children at fundrazr.com. Already, more than $15,000 has been donated.
“The equestrian community has lost a wonderful woman, amazingly talented horsewoman and loving mother.
“Melanie’s beautiful spirit and smile would light up the room,” said Balisky in the fundraising comments.
“She will never be forgotten, her legacy is carried forward by her two children.”
Donations will be held in trust for Laurel and Caden’s education and future, she said.
Walters was coming off a strong year at Hastings Race Park, where she finished in the top 10 in the trainer standings with 15 wins from 58 starts, according to reports in the Daily Racing Form.
Her main client was her father, Dr. Ken Walters, a prominent horse owner at Hastings for many years.
“This is a huge loss. She was one of the most sincere people I’ve ever met, a really great person,” said Carla Robin, vice-chair of the Langley Horse Federation, who watched Walters grow up.
“She was famous in hunter jumper. She was a beautiful rider who was highly respected. My girls idolized her,” Robin said. “We have lost her too young.”
Jane Tidball of Thunderbird Showpark, where Walters was heavily involved, is creating a memory book full of photos and memories of Walters to give to her two children.
Friend Melissa Lowe (nee Schell) grew up with Walters and competed with her.
“She touched a lot of lives and inspired a lot of riders,” said Lowe.
“I was blessed to have her as a friend. My heart is breaking for her two beautiful children.”