Donald V. Little, a longtime local rider who competed and won events even his 70s, died today of injuries he sustained Sunday during the Winter Equestrian Festival.
Little fell on his head and injured his neck Sunday, after his horse stumbled while jumping a fence during the Masters Classic in the International Arena. He was flown by Trauma Hawk to Delray Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition as recently as Monday.
"I will miss him so much. Donald died doing what he loved," Judith A. Little, Little's wife of 57 years, said in a release issued this afternoon by Equestrian Sports Productions, the Winter Equestrian Festival's producer.
"He was loved and respected by so many people, including his fellow competitors, partners and team members in the horse worlds of polo, field hunting, show jumping and thoroughbred racing as well as in all other aspects of his life."
Little, who was in his late 70s, was a senior vice president of Investments at the global financial services company UBS who spent part of each year in Wellington since about 1980. He competed regularly in the Masters jumpers, a division for riders over the age of 50. He has been part of the local polo and equestrian scene since the late 1970s or early 1980s.
"The thrill of jumping jumps entertained him and that became his love," said Mason Phelps, whose equestrian public relations firm is based in the village.
Little's involvement in the world of horses went beyond equestrian competitions. Centennial Farms, a Massachusetts company he founded to form racing partnerships, was behind Colonial Affair's 1993 victory in the Belmont Stakes, with Julie Krone as the jockey, and Corinthian's 2007 victory in the inaugural $1 million Breeder's Cup Dirt Mile, with Kent Desormeaux as the jockey.
Little also was active in polo. He was a past president of the United States Polo Association and was captain of Myopia Hunt Club Polo in South Hamilton, Mass., for 18 years.
Besides his wife, Little is survived by a son, Donald V. Little, Jr., and a daughter, Andrea Little Eaton, both of Ipswich, Mass.; a sister, Patricia Moseley of Hamilton, Mass.; two brothers, Crocker Snow Jr. of Ipswich, Mass., and Andrew J. Little of Chipping Norton, England; and four grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.