When Horses Attack

When horses attack - the dangers of a horse kicking! These terrifying incidents brought horse riders to the hospital.

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Voiceover by Carl Mason: [email protected]

What is it?
Equus ferus caballus or the common horse is a hoofed mammal, also known as an ungulate that belongs to the Equidae family. Horses are characterized by elongated heads, thick long necks that feature long-haired manes, muscular torsos, short body hair and long tails. They’re herbivores whose diet consists of grass and other plantlife. Male horses are known as stallions while female’s are known as mares. There’s over 400 breeds of horse in the world, from hoof to shoulder they can stand up to 6ft and weigh over 2000 pounds and reach speeds of between 20 to 35 miles per hour with the fastest recorded gallop over a short distance being 43.97 miles per hour.
4 Christopher Reeve
Star of four Superman movies, actor Christopher Reeve became a quadriplegic following a horse riding accident that took place during an equestrian competition. Reeve first become involved with horse riding in 1985 after learning to ride for the film Anna Karenina. Despite being allergic to horses he soon overcame his allergy and by 1989 he was taking part in riding events. In 1995 he rode his thoroughbred horse, nicknamed ‘Buck’, in an event at Culpeper, Virginia. After placing fourth of 27 in dressage, Reeve entered the cross-country course.
Where is it located?
The evolution of the horse as we know it today began around 50 million years ago and they’ve been domesticated for at least 5,000 years. Throughout time they have been used in agriculture, transportation, sports and entertainment. The idea of wild horses refers to domesticated populations that live in the wild as feral horses. These feral specimens are not truly ‘wild’ as they’ve been previously domesticated. The endangered Przewalski's horse, another subspecies of the Equus genus, is the only remaining wild horse species. Because of domestication, horses are found on every continent around the world, with the exception of Antarctica.
3 Cassy Finch
Having always had a passion for riding, 23-year-old Cassy Finch from Phoenix, USA, adopted a retired race horse in 2014 and named him Andretti, after racing driver Mario Andretti. She adopted the 6-year-old stallion. On the 16th of July, Ms. Finch took Andretti for a walk. He became startled when a jogger passed by, and, unfortunately, Ms. Finch held on to him and ended up in his blind spot. Andretti kicked out and struck Ms. Finch in the head which, according to her, sent her ‘flying’.A passer-by called the emergency services and Ms. Finch was taken to the hospital. The kick left Cassy with a fractured skull, brain swelling, a crushed sinus bone and a broken nose.
Despite the many benefits that they bring us, horses are still big powerful animals. Horses have a blind spot behind them. Depending on where and the force of the kick, long term damage is possible. Kicks are not the only possible outcome of interactions between horses and people, as there’ve been cases of horses trampling people.
2 Jocelyne Campos
19-year-old Jocelyne Campos sustained multiple blunt force injuries as a result of the fall. The teen and her friends were riding near Echo Lake when something startled the horse causing it to throw Ms. Campos to the ground. A report from the Centers of Disease Control noted that her injuries were consistent with around 60% of fatalities from horse riding incidents.
Most trainers would agree that respecting what the horse is capable of and understanding what an interaction with it implies are key elements towards ensuring a safe experience. The concepts that most trainers operate with are ‘respect’ and ‘control’. There are, however, tips that beginners may benefit from as well. You should always start working with a horse that is calm and quiet. Loud noises or sudden moves are not recommended as this may cause the horse to kick out or jump sideways. Leading a horse should be performed with a halter and lead rope and you should never tie yourself to the animal in any way.
1 Bonnie Armitage
On the 2nd of April 2016, 9-year-old Bonnie Armitage was taking part in a trail while riding her Shetland pony. The schoolgirl was a competent and experienced rider and had reportedly first sat on a pony when she was six weeks old. She was equipped with a riding hat as well as a body and shoulder protector. She was also under the supervision of a family member. Around 50 riders took part in the event. Bonnie’s pony approached a bigger horse, ridden by circus boss Toti Gifford.


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