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Former Paly student, horse fan dies from fall exercising polo horse

Original post made on Oct 9, 2009

Ariel Shaker, 21, a 2005 graduate of Palo Alto High School and a horse enthusiast since she was 8, was pronounced dead Wednesday night from injuries from a "freak" accident last week while exercising a horse for the Harvard University polo team Oct. 1.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 9, 2009, 12:37 AM

Comments (16)

Posted by inshock, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Oct 9, 2009 at 2:41 am

2006, not 2005. this is terrible...ariel was an amazing human being. she will live on in our memories


Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 9, 2009 at 5:41 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Bob Wenzlau, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 9, 2009 at 6:40 am

Bob Wenzlau is a registered user.

We have been chatting with our daughter about this who was a classmate of hers. This particular class at Paly has lost too many classmates, and is another sad ripple in their community. I have been struck by this loss just feeling the loss Becky is feeling. My condolences to the family for their loss of such an amazing young person.


Posted by Wow, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:13 am

There's a reason for everything? I can't figure this one out. How sad.


Posted by robit noops, a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 9, 2009 at 10:21 am

Sorry for the families loss, Ariel sounds like a bright and gifted individual.

I worked at Heavenly Ski Resort for a few years and every year in the ski community there would be fatalities from head trauma. That and being an avid cyclist emphasized the importance of wearing helmets.


Posted by Gunn rowing parent, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 9, 2009 at 11:28 am

My condolences to the family and Paly community.
Slight clarification. Paly does not have a school crew team. Ariel may have rowed for the Palo Alto Rowing Club which is not affiliated with Paly. I believe she then switched to the Oakland Strokes junior team before rowing at Harvard.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 9, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Riders don't normally wear "helmets" they wear hats. A helmet would interfere with your peripheral vision. That said, those hats have never struck me as being all that protective.

She had a freak out-of-control fall from the sounds of it and landed the wrong way. Second-guessing with "if only"s is natural, but doesn't amount to much. You can wear a nice big helmet and still break your neck and bleed to death.

A tragic accident, I'm so sorry for the family.


Posted by Deborah Goldeen, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 9, 2009 at 9:10 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Brian Guth-Pasta, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 9, 2009 at 11:35 pm

I was on the soccer team with Coach Shaker and his son for many years in AYSO. My heart goes out to the family.


Posted by Rower, a resident of Duveneck School
on Oct 10, 2009 at 11:27 am

Paly did have a rowing team which then was kicked out of the program. She was on NorCal though and switched over to Oakland Strokes to be on the national team. What a great girl!


Posted by Karen and Rob Schreiber, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm

We are so sorry for your loss.


Posted by Christian Straight, a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 10, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Ariel touched our lives, myself and my daughter's, this summer when we had the pleasure of having her as a babysitter. What a wonderful young human being - full of life and smiles. Such a terrible loss.


Posted by J, a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 12, 2009 at 11:33 pm

I am so sorry for your lost. God Bless her!!


Posted by Apple, a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2009 at 6:44 am

Ariel was a lovely young woman living her dreams. Our deepest sympathies to her family and friends. Harvard '10 parents.


Posted by Saundra Lyon-Reiser, a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2009 at 5:21 pm

It was such an honor to have known Ariel. She filled so many of us that knew her with her special spirit...she will be missed terribly. My heart will hold her always...............


Posted by Roxanne Pinto, a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2013 at 2:19 am

3 years after college graduation, I still miss Ariel and she's been on my mind a lot lately. October is a tough month for Play class of 06, and the loss of Ariel is particularly painful. I still miss Ariel, she will always be an inspiration. Keeping the Shakers in my thoughts this month.


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