According to the Salisbury Daily Times, Cassie Bernand was enjoying a horse riding lesson at her instructor Jennifer Cording's farm in Assawoman, Virginia when the meat struck her on the head.
"Three objects fell out of the sky in front of us, two larger and one quite small,' explained Cording, who was leading a lesson for a group of advanced students while several parents looked on.
Officials from a nearby Tyson Foods Inc. processing plant denied that the chicken came from their premises.
"When we transport by-products, our trucks are loaded inside [and] are covered with tarps," said spokesman Worth Sparkman, explaining that any trailers carrying byproducts are unloaded in covered areas and washed after being emptied.
Local land protection manager, Milton Johnston, said it was likely that the parts came from composted dead chickens on a nearby farm.
'We can't have pieces of chicken falling out of the sky,' he added.
Avian expert Bryan D Watts has suggested that several species of gulls carrying pieces of chicken in their mouths are probably to blame.
"I doubt it would be vultures, because they don't typically carry things and they don't regurgitate in the air," he said. "It's more likely gulls, which we know carry chicken parts."
Watts added that local scientists monitoring gull colonies on the Eastern Shore of Virginia have reported "a lot of chicken bones" coming from the area. Cording's farm lies between a series of marshes housing the gull population and a poultry-processing facility in nearby Temperanceville.
"The concern [the incident] brings up is the parts are supposed to be disposed of or covered," said Watts. "They are not supposed to be available to scavengers."
A Virginia Department of Environmental Quality official said that the agency plans to investigate the events.
"It was one of those things around here that gives us something to talk about,' said Cording. "It was a weird night."