SOUTHWEST RANCHES (CBSMiami) – Police are still investigating what killed a young woman and a horse, both found dead Thursday along a trail that runs beside a Weston middle school.
Officers said they found the horse and rider dead near Southwest Ranches near SW 188 Ave & Griffin Road. At this point, investigators do not suspect foul play.
Friends identified the girl as Lucia Rodrigo, 16, a junior at Cypress Bay High School.
"Everybody loves her, she loves riding horses," said family friend Terri Shure. "She was a great kid."
Shure told CBS4's Gaby Fleischman that the horse, 18-year-old Brownie, belonged to Rodrigo's sister.
According to friends at the school, Rodrigo was part of the honor society and is described as always having a smile on her face.
"She will be missed. We will do something for her in the art honor society," said classmate Ana Sofia. "Every single day she will be missed."
A woman who helped teach Lucia how to ride told CBS4 she believes the horse, a 18 to 19-year-old Quarter Horse named Brownie, may have suffered an aneurysm and died on the spot—throwing the young woman from the animal.
The woman, who did not want to be identified, said the horse was well known in the area and did not have any known health problems. She also said the Lucia was an experienced rider who had ridden Brownie previously.
Witnesses said they saw the horse running quickly.
"Literally like a race horse, she was flying and I though that was extremely odd because we see people on trail rides here all the time," said Vicky Geddis, who was waiting in her car to pick up her child at Falcon Cove Middle School. "She literally was on the horse sprinting right passed me."
Geddis said the speed startled her.
"It's not normal to see somebody going that fast on a horse around here," she said. "You would only see somebody going that fast on a horse like on a racetrack."
Investigators are trying to gather details as to how they died.
Southwest Ranches Mayor Jeff Nelson did not reveal many specifics but said in this close-knit community, it's a challenging and emotional moment.
"It's heart-breaking, heart-wrenching," Nelson said. "Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family at this difficult time."
Davie Police said the horse will be taken to the University of Florida to undergo a necropsy to determine a cause of death. The Davie Police Department says they expect to have more details tomorrow once they know what killed the horse and the young woman.
There will be a memorial service for Lucia Rodrigo on Saturday evening at the Plenitud funeral home in Pembroke Pines from 5 to 7 pm. There is also a Facebook page about a "Ride for Lucia" in Davie on Sunday, December 14th at 9:30 am beginning at Robbins Lodge Park.
for more features.