LAKESIDE, Calif. - Members of the Escondido Mounted Posse were mourning the death of one of their riders who was killed after the Lakeside Western Days Parade.
Diana Cavender of Escondido was returning her horse to its trailer along with the other members of the posse at about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, when the horse got spooked for an unknown reason, according to the group's captain, Al Pfeltz.
"Her horse took off, reared and spun around before its hoofs slipped out from under it and fell," Pfeltz said. "It landed on Diana's right leg and she hit her head on the pavement and went unconscious."
Cavender, who is considered an expert horse trainer, was pronounced dead from blunt force trauma to the head at Sharp Memorial Hospital about six hours later. She never regained consciousness, according to Pfeltz. She was not wearing a helmet.
"Most members are in shock and awe, the group has been around since 1948 and we have never had one of our riders get killed in a parade," Pfeltz said. "The things I will remember most about her are that she was a child of God, very religious, she really loved her husband and she was an expert equestrian rider."
Cavender had appeared in about 50 parades over the course of the six years that she was a member of the posse, according to Pfeltz. Her horse was not injured in the fall.
A memorial was planned at the Escondido Mounted Posse's regular monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Mitchell Room at Escondido City Hall, 201 N. Broadway. Cavender is survived by her husband and 17 horses.