A nine-year-old girl from West Hanney died from cardiac arrest after she was kicked by a horse, an inquest has heard.

Bonnie Armitage was riding her Shetland pony with the Cotswold Hunt near Stroud, Gloucestershire, on Saturday when she was struck in the chest.

Her parents Nick and Polly Armitage did not attend the opening of her inquest, which was held at Gloucestershire Coroner's Court in Gloucester.

Coroner's office Philip Squibbs said: "The circumstances are, Bonnie was part of an organised hunt, riding her own Shetland pony.

"She was riding when her horse got close to another horse, which kicked out and struck her chest.

"She fell from her horse, apparently unconscious, and subsequently went into cardiac arrest."

Mr Squibbs said paramedics and an air ambulance were called to the scene and CPR was carried out as Bonnie was taken to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.

She was pronounced dead at the hospital at 1.09pm.

The inquest heard she was wearing safety gear at the time she was fatally injured.

Assistant coroner David Dooley said he would normally confirm the release of a body at this point but that Bonnie's parents were too distraught for that to happen.

The inquest was adjourned until September when a full hearing is expected to take place.

Thousands of riders from across the world have posted photographs on Facebook of themselves wearing something blue while riding, in memory of Bonnie.

They are using the hashtag #blueforbonnie - as blue was Bonnie's favourite colour.

In a joint statement earlier Mr and Mrs Armitage said said: "She was a beautiful, vivacious and compassionate girl, who touched the hearts of everyone who knew her. 

"She loved riding, and was never happier than when with her Shetland pony, Lindsay. 

"We will miss her more than we can say, and we greatly value the prayers of so many of our friends." 

Bonnie's dad, Nick, added: "She was our beautiful little girl." 

They said the pony, Lindsay, was "absolutely fine" after the accident and that it wasn't the animal's fault in any way. 

Choking back tears, Bonnie's mum, Polly, added: "It was just a tragic accident. 

"I don't want anyone to be blamed for this. It was no one's fault." 

Horse rider Lucy Barnett posted a picture of her horse on Facebook and wrote: "Such a tragedy to hear we've lost another devoted young rider.

"Bonnie was just nine years old and was killed by a fateful kick whilst out hunting doing what she loved the most.

"It's heart breaking to hear, such sad news. My condolences to her friends and family. Blue was Bonnie's favourite colour so please share your pony pics with the hash tag #blueforbonnie."

Meanwhile, online trolls have targeted Bonnie's family claiming her death is "karma" because she was riding with the Cotswold Hunt when she was fatally injured.

Writing on a Facebook page for hunt saboteurs, one person said: "Karma. Hopefully the parents don't indulge in such a disgusting vile pass time any more."

Another wrote: "Fox 1 - 0 Murderous parents."

And a third post said: "Tragic and unnecessary but nothing good comes from bloodlust how different it would be if her parents hadn't put her at risk."

But others criticised the posts.

Stacey Williamson wrote on Twitter: "#blueforbonnie lets show Bonnie's parents there is so much more support behind them than there is vile trolls."

A Countryside Alliance spokeswoman said: "It is absolutely disgusting - beyond contempt. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms.

"Whatever your views on blood sports there is absolutely no excuse for posting views like this online.

"There is no need to glorify in the death of another human being, especially a child.

"We do hope the police will take it seriously."

Bonnie lived with her parents, Nick and Polly, and brother and sister in a village near Wantage, Oxfordshire.

Andrew Nott, headmaster of Bonnie's school St Hugh's in Oxfordshire, paid tribute to a "truly lovely, talented girl".

"The entire school community was devastated to learn of the tragic death of one of our pupils, Bonnie Armitage, following a riding accident on Saturday," he said.

"Bonnie, the daughter of a member of our staff, was a truly lovely, talented girl who was bright, kind, compassionate, gentle and full of joy."

Sources told the Press Association how Bonnie had been kicked while riding during the hunt.

"My understanding is that she was riding slightly behind a bigger horse that kicked out at her pony," a source said.

"The kick caught her. It was a tragic accident."

Gloucestershire Police confirmed Bonnie's death was not being treated as suspicious and an inquest is due to open on Wednesday.

The force said it was investigating whether those making the online comments had committed a criminal offence.

"Some of these comments are clearly very unpleasant and offensive but we are reviewing them to see if they constitute a criminal offence under either the Malicious Communications Act or Public Order Act," a force spokesman said.

"We would remind people that anyone who makes threats or harasses someone online could be committing a crime and in such cases we will look to take appropriate action.

"This is an incredibly difficult time for the family and we would ask everyone to respect that."