Two riders injured in relay race collision

<p>Round-Up volunteers and Justin Boots Sportsmedicine workers carry an injured pick-up man after the Indian Relay Race on Friday.</p>

It was a dark Friday for Indian horse racing at the Pendleton Round-Up when two horses collided and another trampled a man.

Kathrine Goodluck, a race coordinator, said it was a case of powerful horses that couldn’t be stopped.

Two separate collisions took place as the womens’ race, a single lap around the track, finished just after 3 p.m.

First, a pick-up man attempting to stop a running horse with rider Shannon Boyd of the Colville Tribe aboard was trampled in front of the bucking chutes at the north grandstand. The injured pick-up man’s name was not immediately available. Boyd was spilled from her horse.

As volunteers scrambled onto the dirt track to assist, one of the remaining four horses and riders turned around and ran into the oncoming three. Racers Johnna Laplant of Browning, Mont., and Ashley Zacherle, of Omak, Wash., collided near the east end of the track.

Although Zacherle’s horse appeared to have broken its legs, Goodluck said its injuries turned out to be less severe. Zacherle’s horse hurt its hip and Laplant’s horse pinched a nerve in its shoulder.

Goodluck said only time will tell if the horses recover from their injuries.

Goodluck said both women are very good riders; she described Laplant as a phenomenal rider.

Devin Dice, program manager of the Justin Sportsmedicine Team, said he believed but was not certain that one rider in the second collision was knocked unconscious.

Dice treated the injured in the first collision. He said Boyd may have broken her ankle and the man who was run over likely had broken ribs and a ruptured spleen. Pendleton ambulance responded at 3:28 p.m. and took three people to St. Anthony Hospital.

Dice attributed the accidents to the dangers of racing -- a combination of fast horses and many people in the arena at once.

“There was really high-powered horses in that race this time,”?said Goodluck. She said she did not represent the Pendleton Round-Up but helps organize the races.

She said the horses were thoroughbreds, which can run three or four times around the track without getting winded. For them, one lap is just a warmup.

The collisions, and the riders’ and horses’ injuries, hit the Indian relay and race community hard, Goodluck said.

“It really upset a lot of them,”?she said. She said few wanted to speak about the collision, even amongst each other.

“We just need to be sure and keep those race horses off the track and get them stopped before something like this happens again,” Goodluck said.  “So it doesn't happen in the future.”

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