Jockey Samara Johnson remembered for her love of life, horses and family

Talented young jockey Samara Johnson is being remembered for her devotion to her horses and her love for her family and friends.

Ms Johnson, 25, died in single car crash near Eurongilly on Sunday.

The car in which Ms Johnson and her partner, Canberra trainer Garry Kirkup, 54, had been travelling left the Gundagai Road, hit a tree and caught fire.

Mr Kirkup was critically injured in the crash and is scheduled to undergo surgery on Tuesday.

He is understood to have suffered severe abdominal injuries, as well as broken bones in his foot and ankle.

Ms Johnson is a former student of The Riverina Anglican College, and is being mourned by her parents Phil and Robyn, her family and friends.

Wagga trainer Gary Colvin worked with both Mr Kirkup and Ms Johnson, and described Ms Johnson as a good rider and a lovely young woman.

“She just took life in her stride,” he said.

“It’s very tragic. She will be missed by everyone.

“Samara was becoming a really good amateur rider. She was going really well.”

Michael Stubbs, the deputy principal-welfare at The Riverina Anglican College, said Ms Johnson was a happy and friendly member of the college, who completed her HSC in 2010.

“Samara loved everything equestrian,” Mr Stubbs said.

“In Year 11 and 12 while doing her HSC, Samara would regularly attend school at 9am, having ridden track work from 4am in the morning. Samara loved horses.

“Samara will be sadly missed by all who knew her.”

Canberra trainer Doug Gorrel’s stable facilities adjoin those of Ms Johnson and Mr Kirkup.

Ms Johnson rode Liabilityadjuster, a horse trained by Mr Gorrel, to victory in the Young Cup in October. She last rode at Bong Bong on November 24.

Mr Gorrel described the accident as an “absolute tragedy”.

“Samara and Garry have been my neighbours at the stables since I started there,” he said.

“Samara was just such a wonderful person, such a sweet person.

“I saw them more than I saw my own family some days. That’s what training is like. I saw them every morning and every night.”

Mr Gorrel said Ms Johnson and Mr Kirkup “lived for their horses”.