San Diego

Riding Group Mourns Trainer Killed in Lakeside Parade Incident

The horse trainer was riding to a staging area after the Lakeside Western Days Parade when the accident happened.

A standing-room only crowd of more than 200 people packed Escondido City Hall to remember Diana Cavender, the Escondido Mounted Posse's most celebrated rider.

Cavender's mother expressed her confusion and sadness over her daughter's sudden death.

“As her mother, this has been devastating," Betty Cavender said. "Diana was very close to me. She was the love of my life. I miss her big heart of love.”

Cavender died Saturday after she was thrown from her horse.

Diana was riding to a staging area after the Lakeside Western Days Parade when her 12-year-old paint quarter horse named King lost his footing on slippery asphalt.

The horse fell on its side throwing Cavender head first onto the road. At the time, Cavender was wearing a cowboy hat as she took part in the parade.

She was rushed to Sharp Memorial Hospital where she died six hours later.

Her husband comforted Diana while they waited for medical help.

Joseph Manrique spoke at the memorial Tuesday. He and Diana had been married for three years.

He choked back tears at times while expressing his great passion for his wife.

“We shared not only religion but profession and horses. I mean she was everything,” Manrique said. 

“When the tragedy happened it was an accident but I can say this with all my heart, she lived and went out with what she loved to do,” Manrique said.

Cavender was a tax preparer and many said seeing Diana was the one thing they liked about tax season.

Those who spoke say she lived the cowboy way - true, honest, a lover of life, her friends, family and horses.

“I am choosing to grieve my friend's life and loss very much over the next week but also enjoy some precious memories that are priceless”, friend Susan Mann said.

It was announced Tuesday, funeral services for Diana are 5 p.m. May 6 at Emanuel Faith Church. Another, memorial service is schedule Wednesday night in Lakeside.        

An experienced horse trainer and member of the Escondido Mounted Posse died Saturday after her horse spooked and fell, knocking her off, a group founder said. 

Escondido Mounted Posse leader Al Pfeltz told NBC 7 in a previous interview that Cavender was one of the best horse trainers in the business.

"Diana was always someone we respected because of her ability to ride and her knowledge of horses, but I think the most important thing was not the horse. It was God and her husband," Pfeltz said.

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