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Two Horses, Riders Struck By Vehicle In South Woodstock

March 30, 2013 12:00 pm Category: News, Woodstock 72 Comments A+ / A-

Two riders on horseback were struck by a vehicle earlier today in South Woodstock. Both riders were sent to the hospital, one with head injuries. Scott Ferguson, an EMT, said he happened to be in the area at the time of the accident and called for an ambulance. The condition of the horses is unknown at this time.
Woodstock dispatch would not comment on the situation.

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Rick Russell Photo

Two Horses, Riders Struck By Vehicle In South Woodstock Reviewed by on . Two riders on horseback were struck by a vehicle earlier today in South Woodstock. Both riders were sent to the hospital, one with head injuries. Scott Ferguson Two riders on horseback were struck by a vehicle earlier today in South Woodstock. Both riders were sent to the hospital, one with head injuries. Scott Ferguson Rating:

Comments (72)

  • Mary Kaufman

    I live in California, in a rural type community near Los Angeles. I’ve read through a lot of the comments.
    There’s no excuse for something like this to have happened. The comment from the ATVer is senseless and cruel.

    Who knows if the driver was talking on his cell or what he was doing–he could have been reaching for something. It doesn’t matter! A life was lost. Unfortunately, [probably] not much will be done because an animal lost its life. Animals are considered “property.” If a human life had been lost, it would be another matter.

    To those of us who have had a relationship with one of these magnificent creatures, the loss of an equine is the same [if not more so] or worse than losing a spouse. I’ve lost both. It is devastating!

    I’m so sorry for the loss of Annie, at the beginning of what promised to be a great relationship. I’m very sorry for your loss!

  • Ice Pony Girl

    Dear Roxanne,

    My heart is breaking for your great loss. Annie was a beautiful girl. Reiki sent for Annie’s final journey. {{{HUGS}}}

  • Donna Isenhower

    From everything I have read about this incident…the fact there was clear visibility, no skid marks, horses hit at full speed, I bet the driver was texting at the time. In TX, when you are in an accident nowadays, the first thing the highway patrol does in their investigation is look at the cell phone of the driver to see if (a) they were talking on it, or (b) they were texting at the time…… the driver MUST have in some way been so distracted that he didn’t have his eyes on the road.

  • Shelly M.

    I am from a different state but reading this on my FB page just broke my heart. I cant believe how callus one poster was about horses being on the road. ATVers have the worse reputation around here for being totally disresepectful to people their land and the road. My heart goes out to the owners of the horses and the riders. Slow down people. Where your going isn’t that big of a deal. Like another poster said what if it had been children on bikes? The idiot driving would be facing manslaughter charges. I hope whomever was driving the truck gets some heavy charges for this!

  • Kelly Atwood

    I worked at Kedron with my mother for a very long time, and for a long time whenever I crossed that bridge on horseback, I got a little nervous about the narrowness of that small stretch. People in the area are always so conscious of horses, and prepared to slow that eventually it didn’t worry me any more. I was very upset to find this article, and although I never met Annie my heart goes out to you for your loss. I spent hours agonizing over which horse had to be put down because I could not find it in the article. But, at the end, no matter who is was, it was a senseless crime. I miss you guys.

  • MamaQ

    I will no longer take my horse in hand on country roads never-mind ride. I have have bike riders reach out to slap his hind end, a motorcycle continuously pass sadistically enjoying the trauma he was causing and a truck increase speed and pass by so close he hit the flapping corner of my jacket. I no longer believe these are accidents but ignorance and idiots thinking they won’t get caught. I have to wonder if the driver thought he’d be teaching them a lesson by spooking them but got more than he bargained for.

    It is no longer safe for us and no one punishes them severely enough. We need to push for an attempted vehicular murder or manslaughter trial before attention will be given. People need to recognize if this happens to us it could also happen to them with their children. We are just an easier target.

  • pamela crossley

    As I commented elsewhere, the entire region benefits directly or indirectly from the horse trades here. Everybody. Hotels and inns, restaurants, gas stations and garages, shops, farms, real estate, and everything that is funded by local or state taxes. If you live here, you are benefitting directly or indirectly, whether you know it or not. But there are a few who don’t mind treating riders like vermin and horses like trash if they are momentarily inconvenienced. And that is all it is. Riders approach the paved roads very sparingly, in fact it is getting rare to see them at all. Complaining that they are “holding up traffic” shows the same economic and legal ignorance and social spite as complaining that ambulances or funerals are holding up traffic. And to make such comments on this page, in the wake of this incident, is gratuitous and very disturbing.

  • H. Whitehouse

    I am sorry to hear about this. Growing up in S. Woodstock and Reading I always rode. I generally here lots of good things coming out of my home land. This is sad and hits home. My hopes go out to the riders and there lovely beasts. Id like to know more about the guy who hit them. Does he not realize S. Woodstock is a mecca for horses and one should never drive over 35mph in that area. What was the location of the attempted murder? Probably right outside GMHA. Sad, truly sad.

  • Angry Atver

    How dare you talk about ATVers riding too fast on the dirt roads. Here is my question, what about all the horses that are slowing down traffic? This is 2013 woman, its time to speed up or get the heck out of the way.

  • Robin

    I a’m so sorry to hear about this . I live on a dirt road but the 4 wheeler’s go very fast. Something needs to be done. Why are we all in such a hurry?? My heart goes out to all and sending reiki.

    Robin Farrar

  • Melody Blittersdorf

    How sad and disturbing. I know both of these woman, both professional and execellent riders. With a heavy heart I think of Annie, just at the beginning of her endurance career. She was a lovely horse and she most likely saved the lives of these two incredible people and the other horse by taking the impact of that truck. I can’t imagine what that driver was doing or thinking. What a tragedy.

  • Roxanne Winslow

    It has taken me a few days to fully realize the impact of this horrible and senseless accident. The horse that had to be euthanized due to her serious injuries inflicted by this truck ramming into her hind end at the high speed he was travelling, was my sweet mare, Annie. She has been with me since she was 2 months old and she will be sadly missed by many. She was only 8 years old and had a full life ahead of her. I just thank God that neither of my two good friends lost their life in this terrible reckless act…they will eventually heal from their injuries, although I am sure they will both be scarred for life with this horrible memory.
    I want to thank Pamela for putting flowers on Annie’s grave. It was comforting to see them on the cold bare ground under where she is now lying. I also want to thank those that responded to her needs at the scene of the accident and kept her as comfortable as possible until the vets could release her from her pain.
    The next day I stood there at the scene of the accident and saw that there was ample visible distance (at least a quarter of a mile) for a driver to be able to react to stop and/or slow down or at least to swerve around a pedestrian, cyclist or horse at that point of the road at the bridge. This is an area where there are many equestrians using this span of road from Kedron Valley Stables to Green Mountain Horse Association grounds…there are horse sign postings and low speed limit postings everywhere. This should have never happened.
    The daunting part of all this, is this could have happened to anyone of us, whether we are on horseback or just walking down the road. It is the people driving vehicles that need to pay attention to their driving, stop texting and other distractions and SLOW DOWN….be considerate of others using the road. It isn’t worth taking someone’s life by a mistake that could have been so easily avoided.

  • MMM

    My thoughts and love go out to these two woman and their trusted friends,

    How heartbreaking to have to say goodbye to your best friend and partner with no warning. How so very typical of our equine brethren that they give and sacrifice unselfishly with their entire body and soul. How mind boggling that so much pain and heartache could have been avoided with just the slightest bit of caution from this errant driver.

    At the same time, how refreshing to see so much support from their friends and community in these comments. I am a Vermonter, but not a Woodstock local, and I am not naive enough to think that every comment was written by a “horse” person. I am not sure how I would cope with such a tragic loss if it happened to my best friend and mount of twenty years- he has been with me through everything, my childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and hopefully my next step as a mother. But it is certainly amazing to see the outpouring of support from the people who may not ride horses, but know these women, and see, appreciate, and respect their passion and horse(wom)manship.

    The most recent comment states that they do not yet know who did this? But that isn’t a stock photo of the crushed truck, is it? Reading the comments, you can feel the love and concern… but also the bigger questions- if there wasn’t an 1,100 pound animal in the way then who would have absorbed the brunt of this driver’s folly… your dog? your grandparents? your child?

    The road was posted. The bridge was posted. These women were hardly irresponsible, and the facts appear to be that anybody in front of that truck was doomed.

    They deserve answers.
    We all do

  • Paul Winslow

    Annie was a beautiful mare w/great potential in competitive trail riding. She gave her life to save that of 2 dear friends and will be sorely missed. How two people on horseback cannot be seen and avoided is beyond me. Insert 2 kids on bikes and think about the outcome.

  • JAN LILLIEN

    This accident was horrific! My best to Annemarie in healing her body and soul and to Christine for the interior damage. We don’t yet know who did it, but he should be prosecuted fully with as much publicity as possible to inform the unknowing about the law that protects horse and rider.

  • Laura Spittle

    Over the last 48 hours I have driven this stretch of road about 6 times. Back and forth trying to understand how this happened. Yesterday I discovered that I was not alone. Others were doing the same thing all trying to satisfy ourselves that we have reason to be angry as well as sad. We all know it is a bad bridge. Way too narrow. I remember that I had my own close call there narrowly missing a huge truck with my VW Bug some 35 years ago when I was a new driver. It’s a scary spot. But it is not a blind spot. Especially not in broad daylight. At 40 miles per hour I still had plenty of time to see the bridge and stop dead. If I had been speeding I still would have had the option to veer off to the right up Kendall Road. Another person told me they had come round the corner yesterday to find a deer standing in the middle of the bridge drinking from a puddle and had no problem seeing the deer or stopping safely. There are no skid marks, no evidence of braking of any kind. In short, the only way this could happen is if the person driving never saw them. I leave it to the authorities to discover why the driver never saw them. Iknow both of these women and the horses involved. The horses are experienced trail horses and unlikely to panic in even the worst situations. The women are both professionals in the horse industry with years of experience riding local trails and competing successfully in both endurance and competitive trail rides at the highest level. They are well aware of the dangers and had only about 20 feet of a bridge to cross with nowhere to go. It might have taken 30 seconds for them to cross that bridge. A few seconds either way and they would have had a shot at getting out of the way. But they didn’t have that chance. The fact is that this driver simply mowed them down.

  • Millicent Hughes

    Many folks should not be driving — my aunt in S. Strafford a few years ago was only alerted that something had happened by hearing the screamed curses of the man who had been walking with a toddler — before he threw her into the ditch to save her.

  • Alicia D

    I hope the newspaper follows up on this story and that the driver is charged. It was a violation of the law and should be treated that way by the police and the media.

  • Will Gardner

    I slowly passed these riders moments before the accident. They were in single file, walking slowly and very alert. They were looking back frequently. These women are expert riders who are well known and were taking every precaution.

  • chris wehrhahn

    It is like every where. Everyone should drive with respect of others.
    Some peoble driving TO CLOSE by by horse and rider to see, if there scary the animal and enjoy, that the rider comes in trouble. In this case, there is only one option: write the plate # down and bring it to police.

  • Dane Kendall

    I’m shocked and so sorry to learn of this tragedy. I’ve ridden across that bridge countless times without incident. No doubt the fact that I remained safe is due to a measure of courtesy from many drivers (and then luck in dealing with others). Thanks, Pam for the updates and I hope the best for you, your mount and both riders.

  • Betty Welles

    This is not an accident, it is stupidity. How can you not see two 1,ooo pound animals and their riders on the side on the road. These horseback riders are experienced riders on good horses. What was this man thinking?

  • pamela crossley

    people here and elsewhere have very kindly asked the current condition of my horse. she is still under close observation for possible hidden fractures, but as of today walks a bit and shows very good basic signs. the long term issues are still a great question and she is heavily dosed on pain meds. we at the stables honor the memory of the great horse who took the massive blow here, and made it possible for her three companions to survive.

  • Janice Prindle

    This happened very near where my road, Bryant Road, joins 106. It’s a spot I travel past at least twice a day, on most days, and I was returning home within minutes of this accident that day. Horses and riders are a familiar part of the landscape here, and for drivers passing through for the first time, there are ample signs signalling this possibility — along with warning signs for the curving road, the narrow bridge and the REDUCED speed limit along this stretch. So I think it’s not premature to assign blame to a driver who clearly was traveling too fast for this stretch of the road even on a clear day, and whose legal responsibility was to slow down and yield to the horses and their riders, no matter what they were doing. I will add that I’ve never seen riders in this area be anything but cautious and responsible. I extend my prayers to the injured riders, wishing them a full recovery in time, and offer my condolences for the death of the horse, or perhaps it may end up being both horses. I will add that once again, our local authorities seem to think they did not need to issue a statement following a serious accident that involved a public road and a public response. This is a mistake.

  • Denise Wilkins

    My heart breaks for the two equestrians and their horses. I am praying for you all. This type of incident happens all over the country this time of year as we venture out to ride our horses as the weathers warms up. What I would like to suggest that we as supporters of the horse industry band together to support your local and national Horse Council and (A) educate the public with PSA’s funded with the support of the Horse Council to educate the public during this time of year on how to approach equestrians and (B) In the case of narrow bridge crossings, would a street lights help that someone on horse back would hit as if to cross the street but it would give a red light on both sides of the bridge to allow the equestrian to cross? These are just thoughts, but we as horse enthusiasts need to do what we can to help keep our trail riding experience safe.

  • pamela crossley

    let me just be clear about one thing: these riders were not careless and were not riding side by side. 106 is avoided by riders whenever possible. it is traveled only for very short distances, and only to reach neighboring trails that cannot be reached from the stables property. this bridge takes seconds to cross and is always, without fail, ridden single file. but the circumstances of the accident make very clear how the riders were positioned. the horse in the back took the blow and died shortly after the incident. the other horse survived because it was struck second and further down the road. there is no question here of any side by side riding.

  • Dana

    All prayers to riders and horses for recovery. I survived a similar accident 7 years ago while driving one of my competition ponies, was struck from behind on day with clear visibility,good conditions. Turned out driver had macular degeneration and shouldn’t have been operating a car.
    Make sure you all(horses and riders) get thoroughly checked out, follow up with whatever therapy helps like chiropractic,massage. My pony sustained major injuries to his hindquarters, but someone was looking out for us as my vet was there in less than an hour, the fire rescue squad held the pony while the vet came and thru surgery, they surgery was perfect and the pony recovered to drive again. He’s my miracle pony.

  • Concerned

    What a shame to hear about these horses and their riders. But I really think that we should sympathize and support the riders and horses, and *not* denounce the driver as a terrible person, with biased opinions.. People make mistakes and I bet his own conscience is after him about this one.

  • JGemme

    To clarify:

    VERMONT STATUTES
    TITLE TWENTY-THREE. Motor Vehicles
    CHAPTER 13. Operation of Vehicles
    SUBCHAPTER 11. Miscellaneous Rules

    1127 Control in presence of horses and cattle

    (a) Whenever upon a public highway and approaching a vehicle drawn by a horse or other draft animal, or approaching a horse or other animal upon which a person is riding, the operator of a motor vehicle shall operate the vehicle in such a manner as to exercise every reasonable precaution to prevent the frightening of such horse or animal and to insure the safety and protection of the person riding or driving.

    (b) The operator of a motor vehicle shall yield to any cattle, sheep or goats which are being herded on or across a highway.

  • Donna Stacey

    This is such a shame. People need to be patient with others.when you feel stressed by something or someone holding you up just remember you are where you are supposed to be at all times. A simple 30 second delay like a horseback rider may keep you from being in a dangerous situation later. God sometimes places obstacles before us to slow us down .Many have survived tragedy by being late or delayed. Show some simple courtesy and wait your turn. My heart goes out to the innocent horses and ALL involved.

  • Karen Youngs

    The Three R’s Would Solve Many Problems If Followed By All.

    Respect For Self
    Respect For Others
    Responsibility

  • Jess Gocke

    Horses have right of way in this country. They built this country and our roads. If you see a horse with or with out a person mounted or pulling a cart YOU YIELD TO THE HORSE!!!

  • pamela crossley

    update: the injured horse (mine) has more serious injuries than appeared. at present she does not walk and is in tremendous pain. both riders are out of the hospital and convalescing at home. their injuries are very painful, keep them out of work, and in some ways are not completely diagnosed.

    the accident scene makes it indisputable that the driver had a clear view. he did not brake and hit the hindmost horse at full momentum. he did not swerve to avoid the riders.

  • Nancy Okun

    What does it take to slow down your vehicle when you see animals and people on the side of the road?? what’s the UP side and what’s the DOWN side of doing so? Drivers have breaks that work unconditionally, sometimes horse’s brakes don’t. I am so deeply sad for the horses and riders. More damage has been done that you can imagine.

  • Tracey

    Please don’t jump to conclusions about it being the drivers fault. The horses/riders may have been careless or spooked and jumped in front of the truck.

  • susan benoit

    It is just uncalled for. These are large animals that get scared easily. We don’t go riding down the road to piss off anyone, just enjoying our own passion. What is the harm in slowing down to save not only your life, but the horse and riders. I was almost hit in the same area a few years ago-this is just so sad.

  • Jayne Risi

    Tears in my eyes, ride on the road all the time and have to ask people in cars to slow down and people on bikes to let us know they are coming up behind us, Please people slow down! Thoughts and prayers for all involved.

  • Concerned Person

    Who was the ____ that couldn’t slow down? Horses have the right of way on the road. It is the law! Doesn’t anyone care about anyone or animals anymore!!!!

  • Alice Anderson

    How could anyone hit a horse, much less two of them??? If you’re that blind, you shouldn’t be on the road!!!!

  • Mrs. Hamilton B. Willis

    These selfish, careless motorists need to learn to take other people and animals into consideration whern they are on the road. When they hit each other, there are often serious injuries, and fatalities, but when they hit cyclists, pedestrians or people on horseback or in horse-drawn vehicles, the motorists often come out without a scratch but they leave dead people and dead horses in their wakes.

  • Bob Hillery

    It’s not just “slowing down” – it’s stupid impatience. I had this nearly happen last week in NH. I saw two riders ahead, correct side of the road and on the edge, trying to bridge from one trail to another. A car went by towards us and one horse got a bit spooky & was sidestepping; the rider working on regaining control. I stopped my car well behind them and waited – frankly ready to help if the rider was tossed. Guy pulled up behind me, didn’t wait more than a couple seconds, and started to pull around while the horse was clearly still spooky. I quickly eased left to block more road, and another car was headed towards us, very slowly, also blocking this jerk’s way. Within 30 more seconds – less than a minute total – the rider had the horse under control and had moved further off the road when trees permitted. I went by at about 5 mph, forcing jerk to follow slowly. His impatience could easily have caused a second deadly accident and for no reason other than an idiot couldn’t pause for a minute. People – STOP RUSHING AND FLAILING. You may get hurt yourself, but more likely you’ll cause problems for others and never have a clue you were at fault.

  • Chase

    I feel for the riders and for the horses. I also feel for the driver. Without knowing all of the information, I love how everyone jumps to the conclusion that the driver is at fault. How many times have you come around a corner and found bicyclists riding three wide, on a corner, with no respect for the automobile? Same for those on horseback. The auto is supposed to share the road, but that means the bicyclists and riders need to do the same. Not saying the riders are at fault, nor am I saying the driver is at fault. Simply pointing out that everyone automatically assumes the driver is at fault…

  • JESSE LAFLAM SR

    GOOD EASTER TO EVERYONE!
    PLEASE SLOW DOWN, EXPECT TO MEEET HORSE’S THIS TIME OF YEAR. ON EVERY DIRT RD, MAIN RD, AND INTERSECTION. MAKE SURE THE RIDER’S AND HORSE’S KNOW YOUR THERE BEFORE YOY TRY TO PASS. *DONT BEEP YOUR HORN)
    THIS IS THE TIME OF YEAR PEOPLE START GETTING THERE HORSE’S OUT. RIDING THEM. I GREW UP IN BROWNSVILLE WOODSTOCK AREA.. SO PLEASE HEAD THIS WARNING.
    SLOW DOWN!!!!!! EXPECT HORSE’S!!!!!!!!!!! BE CATIOUS WHEN PASSING!!!!!!! MAKE SURE RIDER AND HORSE KNOW’S YOUR GOING BY.. !!!!!! WAIT FOR THEM TO TURN AROUND OR SIGNAL YOU TO GO BY!!!!!!!!!

  • Donna

    So sad. Things like this should not happen. My heart goes out to all involved.

  • Charlotte

    How sad. Why is it so hard for people to slow down while passing riders? Might they get to their destination 30 seconds late? No matter how well trained, all horses are unpredictable and can spook unexpectedly. Please drivers, take the extra few seconds to slow down when passing….and riders, thank the courteous drivers with a friendly wave.

  • pamela crossley

    one horse was euthanized at the scene, one appears to have minor injuries. one rider was treated and released, one remains in the hospital. this was broad daylight, excellent weather, on a road clearly marked with warnings of horse riders. the riders were a hundred yards or so from the gate of the stables they were returning to. they were forced onto the road for a matter of seconds to cross a narrow bridge (also very heavily marked from both directions). they were struck in the bridge. the bridge is narrow but has two lanes. the riders were riding on the right and struck from the rear.

  • Amy Cieri

    Slow down people!!!! Get off the phones!!!! Three weeks ago in our township, we lost a young woman jogging on the road. She was killed by an 18 y.o. He was high on weed killed her immediatly. She had 2 yound children.
    This is just terrible. My heart goes out to these women and their innocent horses.
    I’m so sorry for the loss.

  • Amelia

    Please keep us posted on how the riders and horses are doing… It really is so easy to slow down near any animal… nothing is worth having this type of accident!

  • Bystander

    One horse had to be euthanized, not sure about the other.

  • John Fahlbusch

    Would be nice to have some more information.
    Heart goes out to riders and horses.
    All too often pedestrians, bicyclists, and animals at the wrong end of vehicles

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