Horse Accidents with Injuries: April through June 2004
Robert O. Dawson
What kinds of injuries result from horse accidents? From what kinds of accidents do serious injuries result? Here are brief summaries of stories from English-language newspapers and similar sources throughout the world reporting on deaths and injuries to humans from accidents involving horses.
The full story is often available on the web site of the newspaper that reported the accident. Sometimes, those archived stories are available without charge and sometimes for a small fee. The name of the newspaper and the date of each story have been included in the summary to facilitate locating the full story.
A. Accidents While Mounted, Driving or Riding
The Lexington Herald Leader reported on April 1, 2004 that race horse trainer, Clyde Bramble, remained in critical but stable condition after falling from a horse during morning training at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky. He suffered arm and shoulder injuries in the fall.
The Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, California reported on April 2, 2004 that a 52-year-old woman was rescued by firefighters and taken to hospital after she fell off a horse.
The New Zealand Press Association reported on April 2, 2004 that a 16-year-old boy, Joshua William Halley, died of head injuries while riding a horse alone on Te Tiki Station. An alarm was raised when his horse was seen without its rider. Efforts by rescue crew members to resuscitate the boy were unavailing.
The Daily Telegraph in Australia reported on April 3, 2004 that a Japanese jockey, Takashi Takemoto, 20, died as a result of a brain contusion when his horse fell on him and trampled him in a steeplechase race in Tokyo. His was the first Japanese horse-racing death in 11 years.
The Leicester Mercury in the United Kingdom reported on April 5, 2004 that Ida Smith, 61, was riding on a bridle path with a friend when her horse became out of control. She was thrown to the ground and taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead of chest injuries. The horse was later found with a broken bridle and snapped reins.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported on April 9, 2004 that exercise rider Clyde Bramble hit the rail in March at Turfway Park after a strap apparently broke on the harness on the horse he was riding. His condition has been upgraded to fair.
The Waikato Times in New Zealand reported on April 12, 2004 that Katherine Bauld and her horse fell at the water jump during the cross country section of the Mitavite Horse Trial. She was taken to hospital where she was treated fro bruising on her leg and then discharged.
The Journal News in White Plains, New York reported on April 13, 2004 that 14-year-old Melissa Norman was injured when the horse she was riding stopped suddenly and threw her from its back. Ms. Norman, who was not wearing protective headgear, attempted a jump but the horse stopped short. She was thrown into the air and landed on top of a stone wall, where she struck the back of her head and neck. She was taken by helicopter to hospital, where she was in unknown condition.
The Lansing State Journal in Michigan reported on April 14, 2004 that a man turned himself in to authorities in connection with the February death of a Lansing woman who fell from her horse after being chased by the man’s dog. He is charged with one count of the misdemeanor offense of not having his dog on a leash.
The Townsville Bulletin in Australia reported on April 14, 2004 that Queensland Rescue evacuated a 50-year-old man from Myola Station to hospital in Townsville with back and shoulder injuries that he received in a fall from a horse.
The Evening Standard in New Zealand reported on April 15, 2004 that a 10-year-old girl received hip and thigh injuries when she fell from her horse on Otaki Beach. She was flown to hospital by helicopter.
The Western Morning News in the United Kingdom reported on April 16, 2004 that a woman suffered serious head injuries after falling from her horse in North Devon. The woman was discovered by a passing motorist on a public road. Her condition is reported to be life-threatening.
The Mirror in the United Kingdom reported on April 17, 2004 that Deborah Wales, an animal rights campaigner, fell off her horse and broke her foot. She was riding naked, Lady Godiva-style, to protest against the export of live horses.
The Fresno Bee in California reported on April 26, 2004 that a man suffered serious injuries during a roping event in Three Rivers. He was thrown from his horse for an undisclosed reason.
CNBC reported on April 28, 2004 that a jockey broke his arm and three ribs when he was thrown from his horse and trampled during a race in Portland, Oregon. The jockey was scheduled to receive the 2004 Dan Castle Award after the race. Castle, a jockey, was trampled and killed during a race in 1972.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on April 28, 2004 that jockey Cindy Medina is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks after breaking her right clavicle and scapula and three transverse process in her lower back in an accident during a race. Her mount ducked in one step out of the starting gate, throwing her to the ground. She was then stepped on by a late-breaking horse.
The New York Sun reported on April 29, 2004 that a police officer was thrown from his mount when it spooked. The officer sustained only an abrasion to his elbow. The horse bolted down the street but fellow officers were able to bring it under control before it injured anyone.
The Salinas Californian reported on May 1, 2004 that 57-year-old Heriberto Mendoza was killed when he was thrown from his horse at the rim of a canyon. His horse was discovered with a broken leg about 500 feet farther down into the canyon. The area of the accident is remote. Workers looked for Mendoza when he did not return to the ranch headquarters at the end of the work day.
The New York Post reported on May 1, 2004 that 74-year-old sulky driver Carl Allen was injured in a multi-horse spill during a race at the Meadowlands Racetrack. He suffered a broken hip and pelvis. The accident involved three other horses. It is unclear whether Allen was kicked or struck his head on the ground, a piece of equipment, or another horse or driver.
The Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, California reported on May 7, 2004 that jockey, David Lopez, suffered a concussion when his horse clipped heels with another horse, toppling both horses during a race at the Bay Meadows track. He was listed in critical condition. The jockey on the other horse suffered cracked bones in his back that will keep him from racing for four to six weeks.
The Lexington Herald Leader reported on May 8, 2004 that jockey, John McKee, was thrown from his horse after she stumbled during a race at Churchill Down. He bruised his left thigh and did not ride for the rest of the day.
The Agence France Presse reported on May 9, 2004 that a 52-year-old driver lost control of his carriage, which was being pulled by two horses. As a result, the carriage careered off the road and overturned, injuring three men, two of them seriously. The driver was found to have a blood-alcohol concentration over the legal limit; he has been charged with reckless driving and causing injury by negligence.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported on May 10, 2004 that Elizabeth Ann Swift Cronin, 63, died in a horse-riding accident. Mrs. Cronin was the ranking political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran in 1979 when it was seized by militant students. She was held hostage for 444 days. After her release in January 1981, she continued her State Department career until her retirement in 1995. She was riding with her husband when her horse stumbled after clearing a jump and she fell from the saddle.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported on May 12, 2004 that jockey Rick Wilson is showing signs of recovering from the head injuries he received when he fell off his horse during a race at Pimlico. Wilson, 50, remains in critical but stable condition, but his facial swelling has subsided and he spoke to members of his family.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported on May 14, 2004 that 911 dispatcher, 31-year-old Sheila Ann Sobiech, died when he was thrown from her at her home. She died of head injuries. An avid equestrian, Sobiech was injured while alone on an afternoon ride on her property.
The West Australian reported on May 18, 2004 that three jockeys were injured during a race. Jockey Peter Farrell was able to walk off the track, but apprentice jockey Richard Caddies and Takahide Ikenushi were rendered unconscious and taken off the track by ambulance. Ikenushi had deep cuts to his left arm caused by a horse’s hoof.
The Newsquest Media Group Newspapers reported on June 16, 2004 that Melanie Stephenson-Dodds, 39, was killed when her horse was spooked by a low-flying military helicopter. Ms. Stephenson-Dodds’ horse bolted onto a highway and was hit by two cars. The impact caused the horse to roll over on its rider.
The Des Moines Register reported on June 20, 2004 that Jockey Ken Shino suffered a collapsed lung and possible broken ribs in a three-horse spill at the finish of a race at Prairie Meadows. A tube was used to help him breathe, but his vital signs are good. Shino was injured when he was about to finish second and his horse broke down just before the wire. She rolled over, but just missed putting her weight on Shino.
B. Accidents While on the Ground
The Daily News in New Zealand reported on April 13, 2004 that a 53-year-old man suffered serious head injuries when he was kicked by a horse. He was airlifted to hospital for treatment.
The Sunday Star-Times in New Zealand reported on April 25, 2004 that two experienced horsemen are in hospital recovering from being kicked by horses. Tony Grayling, 39, came within an inch of being killed or permanently maimed after he was kicked in the head by a broodmare. Clive Herbert, 71, is battling a damaged liver, infection and broken ribs, as a result of being kicked in the chest twelve days earlier.
The AAP Bulletins in Australia reported on May 1, 2004 that an 11-year-old boy has been hospitalized after a horse crashed over the outside fence and into the crowd at a harness race in central Victoria. The accident happened when a number of horses collided during the first race. The boy suffered abdominal and chest injuries and was taken to hospital in critical condition. He was later pronounced to be in stable condition. Authorities have launched a probe which will consider if safety precautions are adequate.
The Scottish Daily Record reported on May 11, 2004 that George Duffield is recovering from injuries when he was kicked at Warwick. He suffered a broken rib when he was kicked.
The Daily Telegraph in the United Kingdom reported on May 13, 2004 that Jim Cassidy was rushed to the hospital with a suspected broken left foot. He was injured after his mount stepped on him while the jockey was applying a non-slip girth strap to the horse.
C. Accidents Involving Motor Vehicles
The Lancaster New Era/Intelligencer Journal/Sunday News reported on April 1, 2004 that state police are seeking the driver who fled after his car struck the back of a horse-drawn buggy. The buggy operator was not injured.
The Lancaster New Era/Intelligencer Journal/Sunday News reported on April 1, 2004 that two runaway horses crashed into two cars, injuring one motorist and one horse. One horse sideswiped a car, causing minor damage. Another horse, possibly the same one, ran into and over the top of a second car, smashing a hole in the windshield and scattering glass into the driver’s face. In a second accident the same night, a car crashed into the rear of a horse-drawn buggy. The occupant of the buggy was not hurt, but the horse was slightly injured and the buggy sustained extensive damage.
The Miami Herald reported on April 2, 2004 that a crash between a horse and a car left the horse dead. Two horses got loose and one was killed by a vehicle. The driver suffered minor injuries.
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported on April 6, 2004 that a woman driving a sport utility vehicle ran over and killed a miniature horse in downtown Fort Smith, Arkansas after the vehicle jumped a curb and hit some planters and a parking meter. The horse, Peaches, had become a popular fixture at Classic Carriage Tours, which offers horse-driven carriage rides in the historic downtown area. The vehicle driver was uninjured.
The Forester in the United Kingdom reported on April 15, 2004 that a man was treated in hospital after a collision between his car and a horse on a public highway. He was released after treatment for minor injuries. The horse was put down at the scene.
The Daily Oklahoman reported on April 20, 2004 that Roy Ratliff’s 830 mile journey in a horse-drawn wagon has been interrupted by the deaths of his two horses. His trip was to be from Lincoln, Arkansas to Grants, New Mexico. His horses were hit by a small pickup and killed. The horses had wandered in the dark onto a highway.
The Lancaster New Era/Intelligencer Journal/Sunday News reported on April 26, 2004 that Heather Lynn Wise, 24, the passenger in a car died after the car struck another vehicle while avoiding hitting a person who was standing in the road to re-capture an escaped horse. The owner of the horse had just fed his animals when he observed one of his horses follow him through a hole in the fence onto the highway. He was attempting to return the horse to the pasture when the accident occurred.
The Journal Gazette in Indiana reported in May 1, 2004 that a woman and a 7-year-old boy were critically injured when a van struck their horse and buggy. Joseph Bancer, 40, fell asleep at the wheel of his vehicle and it struck the horse and buggy. Mary Alice Yoder, driver of the buggy, suffered head injuries and Kevin Yoder, 7, suffered lower back injuries. They were taken to hospital by helicopter, where each remains in critical condition.
The Lancaster New Era/Intelligencer Journal/Sunday News reported on May 2, 2004 that a vehicle and a buggy collided, throwing the occupants from the vehicle and injuring the horse. Sonya Redcay, 36, was cited for careless driving when her buggy struck the car while is to was stopped waiting to turn left.
The Lancaster New Era/Intelligencer Journal/Sunday News reported on May 3, 2004 that five people were hurt when a car crashed head-on into a horse and buggy. None of the injuries appeared life-threatening. The horse was killed. Daniel G. Walls, 36, was the driver of the vehicle, which crossed the center line and struck the buggy head-on.
The Harrogate Advertiser in the United Kingdom reported on May 10, 2004 that a motorcyclist died after he was involved in a collision with a horse and cart. The driver of the cart was taken to hospital suffering from shock. The horse and cart and the motorcycle were traveling in opposite directions.
The Bangor Daily News in Maine reported on May 18, 2004 that Karen McNaughton, 38, was injured when her vehicle struck a pony that was standing in the road. The pony was put down. Before the accident, he had been staked out, but had apparently freed himself from the tether.
The South African Press Association reported on May 19, 2004 that two people died when motorists swerved to avoid two horses on the road. The driver of a bus swerved to avoid the horses. The bus then collided with another vehicle and the driver of that vehicle died at the scene. At the same time, a driver of another vehicle swerved to avoid the same horses and hit a pedestrian, killing that person.
The Daily Post in Liverpool, United Kingdom reported on May 21, 2004 that a runaway horse was seriously injured after a collision with a car. The woman driver was treated for shock.
The Evening Gazette in the United Kingdom reported on June 22, 2004 that a tanker driver is facing a lengthy jail sentence after admitting killing a father and son by ramming into the back of their horse-drawn caravan. Gerald Norman Grange, 50, pleaded guilty to two charges of causing death by dangerous driving. The home-made caravan, built of plywood and canvas on a metal chassis, disintegrated with the 16 ton truck ran into it at more than 50 miles per hour. The dead are Stuart Nicholson, 43, and his six-year-old son, Connor.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on June 22, 2004 that one woman has died and five other people are being treated for injuries after their car hit two horses that had strayed onto a public highway. A 42-year-old woman died, whose identity has not yet been released.
The Dominion Post in New Zealand reported on June 25, 2004 that a motorist escaped serious injury after hitting a runaway horse. Police said the driver had no change of stopping as a horse bolted onto the highway.
D. Preventing Injuries from Horse Accidents
The Sunday Age in Australia reported on May 2, 2004 that the mother of an 11-year-old boy who was injured when a race horse crossed over a fence during a race contended that the fence at the point of the accident was too low and that there should have been a second fence to protect the public from the horse racing.
The Courier-Mail in Australia reported on May 7, 2004 that Rachel Fleur Edwards, a young woman, was awarded damages of over $500,000 for injuries suffered from the negligence of a rent-a-horse business. She was given an ex-race house to ride and was not experienced, having ridden a horse only once before. She was waiting on board her horse when an attendant smacked the animal on the rump and it bolted. Edwards was dislodged from the saddle and dragged alone with one foot in a stirrup for about 200 yards. The judge said that Ms. Edwards had been given no warning about the horse, no instructions on how to handle it, and was not provided with a helmet.
The Philadelphia Daily News reported on May 13, 2004 about a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study that shows that the dangers of horse racing can be just as great as those of auto racing. A total of 144 jockeys have died in North American since 1940. Over a 4-year period, from 1993 to 1996, there were 6,545 injuries serious enough for treatment among about 2,700 licensed jockeys at 114 race tracks. There were 606 injuries for 1,000 jockey years. Nearly one in five was to the riders’ head or neck. More than 15 percent were to legs, more than 10 percent to feet or ankles, 11 percent to arms or hands and almost 10 percent to shoulders. Thirty-five percent of the injuries occurred in or around starting gates. They resulted in almost 30 percent of the head injuries, almost 40 percent of the hand and arm injuries and more than 50 percent of leg and foot injuries. The home stretch and finish line also saw many accidents. The study contended that companies have shown little interest in developing better protective equipment for U.S. jockeys because the market is so small.
The Sunday Mail in Australia reported on June 13, 2004 that the Queensland Law Society wants landlords to be forced to fence properties next to highways to stop stock straying. The Society states that every state except Queensland has abolished a 1947 common law rule allowing land abutting roads not to be fenced. The Society said that rule should be replaced with legislation that would subject landowners with grazing animals to the ordinary laws of negligence.
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