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 Daily Telegraph in Australia reported on October 4, 2003 that a 31-year-old woman was flown to hospital after falling from her horse. She was knocked unconscious and sustained suspected head injuries in the fall.
The Evening Standard in the United Kingdom reported on October 6, 2003 that 18-year-old Rebecca Strange was saved from downing in rising tide waters by the actions of her friends. She was trapped under her horse when it collapsed of a heart attack on a beach. She was in almost three feet of water. One of her friends summoned her father, who drove his Range Rover into the water and winched the horse off the girl. She had inhaled seawater but was treated and released. During the event, one of the other horses bolted, throwing the rider into the water, but she was not badly injured.
The Reno Gazette-Journal reported on October 7, 2003 that a memorial service was to be held that day for Shana Eriksson, who died September 27. While horseback riding with her Fresno State equestrian team, the 18-year-old freshman suffered head injuries in an accident. Fresno State officials believe her horse was startled by cows rushing toward a fence, causing her to be thrown to the ground.
The Worcester Telegram & Gazette in Massachusetts reported on October 14, 2003 that 61-year-old Sharon L. VanderPool was thrown off her horse. The horse may have been scared by a neighborhood dog, causing it to buck. She was flown to hospital with head and back injuries.
The Illawarra Mercury in Australia reported on October 20, 2003 that a 53-year old man was flown to hospital after he broke his leg in a horse riding incident on isolated property.
Newsday in New York City reported on October 25, 2003 that two carriage horses in Central Park spooked and reared up, tipping over the carriage, injuring the driver and two passengers. When the driver of another carriage came to help his horse also spooked and the passenger in the second carriage was injured when the carriage tipped.
The Burnley Express in the United Kingdom reported on October 29, 2003 that a woman was injured following a fall from her horse while riding on the beach. Since she was inaccessible by land ambulance, she was airlifted to hospital.
The Irish Times reported on October 29, 2003 that Dr. Maurice Roche, 49, died from head injuries suffered in a horse riding accident. He had been wearing a helmet and was immediately airlifted to hospital.
The Southland Times in New Zealand reported on October 30, 2003 that a 47-year-old woman was hospitalized after suffering a suspected neck injury when she fell from her horse at the Southland Equestrian Centre. The Southland Times further reported on November 29, 2003 that Anne-Marie Flynn was left a tetraplegic after falling from her horse during at event at the Southland Equestrian Centre.
The Australian Associated Press General News reported on November 3, 2003 that a 40-year-old man was airlifted to hospital with spinal and rib injuries as a result of falling from a horse near his property.
The Birmingham Post in the United Kingdom reported on November 12, 2003 that Nicola Gledhill, 24, died following a fall from a horse. At the time of the fall, she was riding with a friend in a country lane.
The San Antonio Express-News reported on November 24, 2003 that seven-year-old Michaela Katzer died from injuries suffered when she fell from and was dragged by her mount.
The San Jose Mercury News reported on November 25, 2003 that David Herrera, a mounted police officer in Golden Gate Park, suffered back and neck injuries when a pit bull attacked the horse he was riding. The dog, which belonged to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was not under leash when he attacked the horse’s leg, causing it to unseat the officer. The dog’s handler tried in vain to separate the dog from the horse and caught a hoof to the face in doing so. She suffered head injuries and a broken finger.
The Carmarthen Journal in the United Kingdom reported on December 3, 2003 that 78-year-old Rosemary Eileen Streeter was killed when she fell from a buggy as a pony bolted. Ms. Streeter was very experienced at breaking and breeding horses. She died of head injuries. Her 76-year-old husband, John, was also thrown from the buggy and suffered a concussion. The pony pulling the buggy was a five-year-old Welsh cob. Mr. Streeter told an inquest that neither was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. “I don’t know why, because we usually did,” he said.
The Indianapolis News/Indianapolis Star reported on December 12, 2003 that Steve Huse of Indianapolis suffered six broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, a torn pancreas and a broken collarbone when he was thrown from a horse while in Argentina. He was later found to have blood in his lungs and a hematoma on his kidney. He described the event as being like falling out of a second-story window.
The Express in the United Kingdom reported on December 22, 2003 that Melanie Dodds, 39, suffered fatal head injuries when her pony bolted after being startled by a low-flying helicopter belonging to the Royal Air Force. The pony ran into the road where it was struck by two motor vehicles.
B. Accidents While on the Ground
The Xinhua News Agency in South Africa reported on October 20, 2003 that 15 people were killed and 13 others seriously injured when a horse and trailer hit them. Many of the dead and injured were queuing to collect grants from a mobile unit when the horse and trailer tried to overtake another truck and struck the pedestrians.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on November 2, 2003 that 12-year-old Katherine Lynn Nevett was killed when she was leading a friend’s horse.
The Hindu in India reported on December 9, 2003 that 38-year-old Rajendra Singh, a horse trainer, was killed when he was kicked in the chest by a horse he was training.
The Lexington Herald Leader reported on
December 16, 2003 that 17-year-old Michelle Fuerniss, a groom working at a
stables, was leading a horse into a barn stall when she was kicked in the chest
by another horse that was leaving the same stall. She died from chest trauma.
C. Accidents Involving Motor Vehicles
The Commercial Appeal in Memphis reported on October 6, 2003 that an Amish teenager, Mary Gingreich, 14, was killed and her brother, David, and sister, Lydia, were injured when the horse-drawn buggy in which they were riding was struck by a pickup truck. Their buggy was struck from behind, producing an impact that tossed their horses 120 to 150 feet, killing both. The driver of the pickup, Jeremy Mullins, 16, told police the sun was in his eyes and he did not see the buggy until the last minute.
The Daily Mail in the United Kingdom reported on October 20, 2003 that a woman was killed in a collision with a car while riding on a country road. The impact of the crash smashed the vehicle’s windshield and crumpled the hood.
The Lancaster New Era Intelligencer Journal Sunday News reported on October 22 that a vehicle collided with a horse-drawn buggy when the driver of the vehicle pulled from a stop sign into the path of the buggy. There were no injuries requiring medical attention.
The Illawarra Mercury in Australia reported on November 4, 2003 that an injured racehorse was saved from possible further injury by the quick action of a postman, Wayne Bolton. He gave chase in his van after seeing the distressed horse galloping down a busy road after he had escaped from his handler as a result of being spooked by a train. Mr. Bolton caught up with the horse after a chase of one kilometer and managed to get hold of the lead rope and calm him.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Record in Canada reported on November 4, 2003 that an 83-year-old man and his 70-year-old wife were seriously injured when their horse and buggy collided with a car on a public roadway. The buggy was traveling on the shoulder when it went across into the opposite lane of traffic. The buggy collided with a car driven by an 84-year-old woman. The pair in the buggy were thrown to the ground and suffered head and spinal injuries.
The Western Morning News in the United Kingdom reported on November 25, 2003 that a woman escaped serious injury after the horse she was riding collided with two cars. She was thrown after the horse galloped off with her and ran straight into the path of two cars. She was taken to hospital with injuries to her arm and leg but is expected to make a full recovery. The horse was also injured.
The Courier-Journal in Kentucky reported on December 1, 2003 that police are looking for a motorist who ran into the back of a horse-drawn carriage in downtown Louisville and then pointed a gun at a bystander as he fled on foot, leaving his vehicle at the scene. He clipped the back of the parked carriage and then hit three parked cars. The horse was started and the driver was slightly injured. The wreck was at least the third involving horse-drawn carriages in the past two years. Two carriage horses were killed last year after vehicle accidents.
The Patriot-News in Pennsylvania reported on December 3, 2003 that Rebecca Stolzfus, 37, was injured when the horse and buggy she was driving was struck from behind by a pickup truck. She was hospitalized and her condition has been upgraded to good. The horse was slightly injured.
The Patriot-News in Pennsylvania reported on December 4, 2003 that a van collided with a horse loose on a public roadway. A passenger in the vehicle, Sean Evoy, 36, suffered a minor injury. The horse died.
The New York Post reported in December 14, 2003 that a police horse was critically injured when it broke free from its tether and bolted into a busy Queens intersection after a kid threw something at it and frightened it during a firehouse Christmas party. The horse, a 13-year-old gelding, galloped riderless for eight blocks before it ran into a car making a left turn. The horse crashed into the back passenger side of the car, knocking out the rear window and cutting its chest and foot. The horse was seriously injured. The driver of the car was shaken but not injured.
The West Briton in the United Kingdom reported on December 18, 2003 that William Michael Danning was killed as a result of being struck by a Land Rover as he led his horse near a public road. The driver, Nigel Harris, 35, told an inquest that he was blinded by the sun and did not see the horse and leader in time.
The Oakland Tribune reported on December 25, 2003 that 12 horses escaped through an electrically-lined wooden fence and headed for Highway 1 late at night. They collided with four vehicles. Only a minor injury to one horse was reported in the incident. No vehicle occupants were injured.
D. Preventing Injuries from Horse Accidents
The Western Morning News in the United Kingdom reported on October 13, 2003 that a Devon Member of Parliament called for the Plymouth City Council to erect more warning signs urging motorists to slow down for horses and pedestrians. He took this action in the wake of an accident in which a seven-year-old pony was killed on the highway.
The Cornish Guardian in the United Kingdom reported on October 16, 2003 that residents of a Cornish village have warned that a “slippery” new road surface could lead to the death of a horse unless it is replaced. After the new surface was installed the previous month several horses have slipped on it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on October 21, 2003 that neighbors in horse-heavy Chester County are organized in opposition to a proposal of a private landowner to install a helicopter pad on his property. Neighbors are concerned that the sight and sound of a helicopter flying low overhead would spook horses.
The Star-Tribune in Minnesota reported on October 30, 2003 that the St. Paul Police Department, in a budget measure, reduced the ride times on police horses to about four times a month. This inactivity is being blamed for at least three injuries to officers.
The Lexington Herald Leader reported on October 27, 2003 that about 100 veterinarians, horse enthusiasts and rescue workers gathered for an equine rescue demonstration at the Kentucky Horse Park. For about seven hours, they learned the do’s and don’ts of large animal rescue. The theme of the demonstration was that helping injured horses can be hazardous to one’s health.
The Express and Echo in the United Kingdom reported on November 4, 2003 that the new edition of the Code of Good Shooting Practice contains substantial reference to shooters’ relationship with riders and advice on safety. The British Horse Society was consulted about the revised code.
The New Jersey Law Journal reported on December 8, 2003 that a child who fractured his skull in a fall from a pony will receive guaranteed payments of $1.14 million as an adult under a settlement that will pay him $1,600 a month for life starting at age 20. The critical liability issue was whether the stable was immunized by the Equine Activity Act. The plaintiff noted exceptions for stable owners who negligently disregard customer safety. The child was not given a helmet and his feet were placed not in a stirrup but between two leather straps holding the stirrup, causing him to be dragged when he fell.
The Daily Telegraph in Australia reported on December 19, 2003 that the National Farmers’ Federation launched a campaign to promote farm safety. The focus of the campaign is to encourage farmers to created safe play areas on their properties for their children and visiting youngsters. The major causes of child death and injury on farms are dams, farm vehicles, farm machinery, motorcycles and horses.
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