Sunday, August 1, 2010

A gruesome far

Today brings news of a serious carriage horse spooking accident in Eureka, California, which is north of San Francisco. The horse bolted after being spooked by skateboarders, according to a report in The (Humboldt County) Journal. The carriage driver suffered head injuries and was hospitalized. No word on his condition. The horse, Cinnamon, is said to have suffered leg injuries though able to walk. After being startled by the sound of skateboards, she took off galloping and crashed into a parked car, dragging the carriage with her. The carriage finally was stopped by a wood pillar. The carriage driver was pulled into the street.

This comes just weeks after horses spooked during a July Fourth parade in Bellevue, Iowa, a tragic turn that killed a 61-year-old woman (the carriage driver's wife) and injured 24 others, mostly young children. One of the two horses who spooked was killed.

Cities and towns that put horses into traffic are putting the public safety at risk, since surveys have shown consistently that humans are almost always injured in carriage horse-spooking accidents.

In the US and around the world, the list of recent accidents is, well, too long to list. Among some recent serious accidents are those in York, England; Atlanta, Georgia; suburban London (Windsor Estate) and Mesa Fire, Ariz. Not surprisingly, there are also vehicle-versus-carriage crashes, like these in Philadelphia (5 people, 5 horses hurt) and Anchorage, Alaska. As you can imagine, vehicles have the safety advantage.

Is this a new phenomenon? Not! Here is a sampling that a commenter posted in Iowa. Oh, and here is list from "spookedhorses" blog of carriage and buggy crashes, many from 2009.