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Horse-Drawn Carriage Accidents

Spooked Horse Tosses Carriage Driver at Ogden Point Vancouver

SCUBA instructor Stu Gordon and his student were just coming out of the ocean at Ogden Point around 11 a.m. Saturday when the pair heard the sound of “hoofs beating the ground hard,” he says.

They saw a Tally-Ho carriage ripping across the parking lot behind an out-of-control horse. Its driver and sole occupant, 23-year-old Tanya Hansen, was yelling for the horse to stop when the carriage clipped a cement flower bed and came to a sharp stop. The driver was thrown to the ground and the horse broke free in a gallop towards Dallas Road.

“Our first and only concern was getting to the driver to see if she needed medical attention,” said Gordon, a retired military man with first aid training who now runs Scuba Stu’s Underwater Adventures. “She said she hit her head but there was no blood and she appeared to be doing OK ... She was freaked out.”

Gordon said he focused on the driver until an ambulance arrived and took her to Victoria General Hospital. In the meantime, the draft horse, Rocky, was subdued by a passerby until its owner arrived and loaded him into a truck to be taken home for a veterinarian to inspect, said Tally-Ho manager Randy Tucker.

He said Rocky and the driver were just starting their shift when the horse’s leather bridle came loose and startled him.

“His bridle fell off, he got spooked and he galloped,” said Tucker, who hasn’t heard of this happening to a horse in his 14 years in the carriage business. “It’s a very rare event and if the carriage wheel hadn’t caught on something he probably would have just calmed down and stopped.”

Tucker said both the driver and horse are fine, although he recognizes that incidents with spooked horses can also frighten the public in an urban setting.

“They’re big animals so it can seem scary. A while back when a horse from another company slipped and fell on the wet pavement it worried people. But he was fine. They are strong animals,” said Tucker. His advice to anyone that might encounter a spooked horse is to give it room to calm down, then talk to it soothingly while holding the reins. “‘Easy, easy’ is what you want to say.”

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