Two horses were killed and their riders seriously injured in a road accident last Sunday (8 July). The incident took place in Southwest Ranches, an area near Fort Lauderdale in South Florida, US, which is densely populated with horses and stables.
A man driving a Toyota Tundra pick-up truck collided with the pair of riders as they crossed, killing both horses. A nine-year-old girl and her trainer, 62-year-old Joy Shupnick, were both badly injured.
The child, Camila Manrique, was airlifted to hospital and the instructor taken by road ambulance.
Mrs Shupnick’s husband Curtis Finn said she suffered a concussion, a gash to her left foot and broken ribs, but that she was conscious when she arrived at hospital. Mr Finn reported that his wife is a volunteer instructor with American Horse Trails — a riding school in the area — and a “very experienced” rider.
Local police officer Major Dale Engle said both horses died at the scene and that the riders suffered life-threatening injuries. He added that traffic homicide detectives are investigating the crash.
The stretch of road was shut for more than five hours following the incident.
The two deceased horses came from American Horse Trails, according to owner Herb Garcia.
The nine-year-old rider was wearing a helmet which police said may have saved her life. Her father, Miguel Manrique, was also riding with them but he and his horse were unharmed.
Ms Manrique remains at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, where her condition is said to be good.
An eye-witness who “pulled up right after impact” told H&H the horses “passed [away] within seconds on impact” and that the vehicle involved in the accident was “destroyed”.
The driver has been identified as 24-year-old James Frederick Rink.
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