Cabot House Senior, Injured in Riding Accident, Passes Away


“Passionate” was the word friends, teammates, coaches, and Harvard officials used to describe Ariel E.F. Shaker ’10—who was involved in a fatal horse-riding accident last Thursday.

College administrators e-mailed undergraduates Monday to notify the community that the accident had been fatal. Shaker is currently brain-dead at Boston Medical Center, and is expected to pass away in the coming days.

A Visual and Environmental Studies concentrator with a secondary field in English from Palo Alto, Calif., Shaker recently joined the Polo Club, though she had long been a fan of riding horses. Shaker also served as the Resource Efficiency Program representative for Cabot House and was previously a member of the women’s Heavyweight Crew team.

"Ariel was truly a person committed to improving our world; whether from an environmental, aesthetic, or political perspective, she worked to bring sustained beauty into our lives," Harris wrote. "Her infectious smile and wry wit enlivened any conversation, and this, added to her fierce loyalty to her friends, teammates, and the broader Cabot community, made her a true delight to be with. We will miss her in incalculable ways."


Shaker was injured while she and another student were practicing at Pony Express in Ipswich, Mass., according to The Salem News. Police told the newspaper that Shaker was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Shaker was taken by helicopter to Boston Medical Center with extensive internal bleeding in her head, according to an e-mail sent to Harvard Polo Club members by coach Crocker Snow Jr. ’61 early Friday morning.

The Harrises have invited students to gather in their home this evening beginning at 7:30 p.m. "to share our grief, and to celebrate Ariel's remarkable life," according to Harris's e-mail.

—Staff writer Lauren D. Kiel can be reached at


The original version of the Oct. 7 news article "Senior Ariel Shaker Passes Away" incorrectly stated in the headline and text of the article that Ariel E.F. Shaker '10 had passed away on Oct. 6, based on e-mails sent by Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds and Cabot House Master Jay M. Harris, who both wrote that Shaker had died. In fact, College spokesman Jeff Neal later clarified that those e-mails were inaccurate, and that though Shaker was brain-dead and will not make a meaningful recovery, she is still being kept physically alive in order to allow her to be an organ donor. Below is a portion of a statement sent by Neal late Wednesday night:

"Ariel's family decided on Monday to end artificial life support for their daughter and to donate her organs for transplant. While the medical process can take several days, Ariel will not make a meaningful recovery and a family has lost their daughter. After discussing the situation with the medical team, Ariel's mother authorized the college to communicate her passing to the community.

We continue to keep Ariel's family and her friends in our thoughts during this extraordinarily difficult time."


Recommended Articles