Councilman's daughter critical after fall from horse

Police said girl not wearing helmet; horse was not wearing saddle

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The 11-year-old critically injured falling from a horse Sunday is the 11-year-old daughter of Jacksonville City Councilman Ray Holt.

The accident happened just before 6 p.m. at the Sal Taylor Creek Preserve on Nathan Hale Road, not far from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said Natasha Holt was with family and friends when she climbed onto the horse and it took off unexpectedly, throwing her to the ground. Officers were told the girl hit her head on a tree.

A witness said the Natasha was not breathing and was given CPR until Jacksonville Fire-Rescue arrived and transported her to UF Health Jacksonville.  She has since been moved to Wolfson Children's Hospital.

A family friend was told the next three days will be critical to Natasha's recovery.

"They've gone in and they're monitoring the pressure in her brain," Stephanie Stalvey said. "She's stable, all signs are encouraging."

Stalvey said the accident happened after a long day of riding, and during the confusion of everybody getting ready to leave, Natasha jumped onto a friend's horse, which didn't have a saddle.

Investigators said Natasha also wasn't wearing a helmet. The victim's mother told police the girl has a horse and almost always wears a helmet.

Under Florida law, anyone 16 and under riding a horse must wear a helmet if they are on public trails or roads.

"We just hope and pray that this is a case where good will come of it, and there will be blessings and her life will be better and longer for it," Stalvey said Monday.

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