A WOMAN'S death in a freak pony-riding accident was witnessed by her 14-year-old daughter.
Lauri McNulty, a 39-year-old mother-of-three, died after the pony she was riding tripped and fell on her near Levin on Friday afternoon.
McNulty's mother yesterday told the Herald on Sunday her daughter was an experienced horsewoman who had embraced life and was incredibly safety conscious.
"It was an unusual chain of events," she said. "She was not taking any risks at all. She had a helmet on.
"It was just a bizarre thing."
McNulty's daughter, Brooke, yesterday posted a moving tribute to her mother on Facebook.
"You were an amazing character and more of a sister than a mum," she wrote.
"You used to sort out my s*** and get me past everything. Yesterday you told me you didn't want to die a cliche death and I guess you didn't.
"You always brought out the best in me, and you helped reach my goals. You worked hard to get me where I am with these horses and I'm going to keep going, I promised you I'd do that Mini Prix we worked so hard for and I'm a woman of my words.
"I'll do you proud Mumma."
Emergency services rushed to the scene, in an area of small farms and lifestyle blocks just east of Levin, but could do nothing to save the woman.
Her children, aged 21, 14 and 5, were now coping as best they could, said McNulty's mother, who asked not to be named.
McNulty was described as a popular and bubbly person who made lots of friends in the area.
Many of them gathered at the family home yesterday to come to terms with the tragedy.
On Friday evening, concerned neighbours brought pizza for the grieving family.
"It's a nice little community, when it's all said and done," her father said.
She was not taking any risks at all. It was just a bizarre thing.
Lauri McNulty's mum
The parents said the pony, which the family had had for about two and-a-half years, had done nothing wrong.
"A young man might be mad about cars as she was about horses," her father said.
McNulty's parents said their much-loved daughter started riding horses at the age of 4 and rode most days.
She had been teaching her 14-year-old to ride as well.
Her father said she'd want other people to live their lives to the full, including enjoying outdoor activities. "Follow your dreams. You're not here for long," her father said.
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