5-Year-Old Dies In Freak Horse Riding...

5-Year-Old Dies In Freak Horse Riding Accident

There are 94 comments on the NBC 11 San Francisco Bay Area story from Oct 10, 2008, titled 5-Year-Old Dies In Freak Horse Riding Accident. In it, NBC 11 San Francisco Bay Area reports that:

San Mateo County sheriff's deputies have released the tragic details related to the horseback riding death of a 5-year-old girl in Woodside on Thursday.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at NBC 11 San Francisco Bay Area.


Bowie, MD

#42 Oct 18, 2008
It does make sense for people to write an angry comment, because they might feel that the accident was not a "freak" accident, but a result of negligence and bad judgement. I think that putting a very small person on an actual horse is kind of like leaving a gun in your living room. Obviously people feel bad for the adults who are mourning the child, but also the child had a right to be protected and looked out for. I rode for years and I never started until I was 10, although I have friends who rode little ponies when they were younger. I have been looking into getting a small pony for children in my family, but still have reservations and might only let them do leadline riding. Lately I have been riding a large racehorse and the feeling of being out of control when the animal has a mind of its own is terrifying. A little child doesn't have the physical strength to even make a horse notice it pulling or kicking or even trying to hang on. My little nieces can't even control our Great Pyrenees dog. It's terrible to use profane language in this kind of comment block, but it's true that people sometimes overestimate what their children can do. The book "Barn Blind" by Jane Smiley is a good example. The main character's son dies in the end of the book. It wasn't a freak accident, because the author shows how a lot of factors led up to it. But the main responsibility is really with the barn manager and teacher. They know the horses and ponies, and are supposed to be the experts who advise parents. I went to a nice stable nearby to ask about boarding and lessons. The manager said that her youngest student is 4 and gestured to a fairly large pony as the mount for the child. I thought that was surprising but she is a really nice lady and seems trustworthy. However, I still wouldn't have put my niece on that animal. Maybe it's my own years of riding, falling, being kicked in the head and face, and being crushed under a horse that makes me think I wouldn't do that. You get stronger as you grow and little ones are too delicate and frail for the kind of abuse that riders' bodies almost inevitably have to take. Some accidents are freak ones. Some are not--they are just very sad and terrible, but they teach the rest of us to be even more cautious and conservative when it comes to teaching young people to enjoy horses as safely as possible.
Thea Rose

Lincoln, CA

#43 Oct 20, 2008
That little girl was my neice. Please have some respect, burying your child is hard enough.
Sammy wrote:
Who the F&*^ would let a 5 year old on a 1500 pound horse. Typical, parents trying to live their lives through their children. Because they have the money to do it. A child is dead because of your selfishness. UnF&^(ing believable. Rest in peace little girl. Parents, I hope you suffer for your selfishness, the rest of your lives. YOU killed your daughter, on one else.

San Mateo, CA

#44 Oct 21, 2008
may the Lord be with you and your family thru this time and we are know one to judge blame you or any one else for what happened, we never know when something could happen to us or some one we are very close to i send my sympathy and prayers to your family

Courtenay, Canada

#45 Nov 22, 2008
italy is stupid

League City, TX

#46 Nov 23, 2008
SMIPLEY PUT IF A four wheeler came out of no where the horse would not move no insurance will allow a child under six to ride on a horse no amount of money can bring the little girl back but maybe a huge lawsuit will save some lives inthe future the child must wear a helmet and boots. if you can prove that the horse has ever bucked and gotten scared you can sue good luck and god bless my son was riding when he was two and a half years old he was riding all by himself when he was three years old the horse was well behaved and taught not to step or run over people however one day it spooked and my son came off and hit the hard ground three days in intense care and three days in regular hospital he still rides the difference was the horse was trained not to step on or kick people yeas it is true
Kathleen Porterfield

Fresno, CA

#48 Jun 5, 2009
So sorry for your whole family. Things happen there is no answer for why. I have ridden and worked with horses all my life. Both daughters have also. We have all taken falls bad ones and funny ones and we always got right back on. There is nothing wrong with a 5 year old riding a pony. It sounds like everything was done according to safe riding. Don't let anyone make you feel wrong or bad about what happen I know no one could make you feel any sadder over having her go so early in her life. Take this hole in your hearts and fill it up with helping others. Best way to remember her and take care of others in need. Best thing for you all. Take care God Bless

United States

#49 Jun 18, 2009
keep your comments to yourself and a 4 your old really should not be aloud to ride a horse to tell the truth

United States

#50 Jun 18, 2009
hi you guess are freaks letting a 4 year old ride a horse

i lobe horsez
dgsaF eksjdmhklzanbhek sl

United States

#51 Jun 18, 2009
wtf are you guys thinking

Cambridge, UK

#52 Jun 22, 2009
ive been riding since i was 12 and my friend started when she was 4 she has fallen before but has never broken a bone or had concussion or anything like that so in my opinion this was just a freak and very unfortunate accident.

United States

#53 Jun 22, 2009
Sammy wrote:
Who the F&*^ would let a 5 year old on a 1500 pound horse. Typical, parents trying to live their lives through their children. Because they have the money to do it. A child is dead because of your selfishness. UnF&^(ing believable. Rest in peace little girl. Parents, I hope you suffer for your selfishness, the rest of your lives. YOU killed your daughter, on one else.
I can't believe anyone could be so cruel or judgemental! I hope to God you never have to go through anything like this? Do you have any idea what these parents are going through and who are you to judge these people? Do you not think they are going through enough pain?! I have never met anyone so insensitive!!!
I don't you waste my time responding but I could not help myself on this one!!!!


#54 Jun 28, 2009
Paula wrote:
Our hearts go out to the Family of the little girl!
As far as the "trainer"..... certified, insured, experienced adult ???????
Just a thought, children should not be training children.
not certified, not insured, and barely an adult
me here

United States

#55 Aug 15, 2009

United States

#56 Aug 15, 2009
so sad

Sacramento, CA

#57 Nov 23, 2009
michelle wrote:
I am so heartbroken about this. My heart goes out to the family who must be devastated. As a girl who was absolutely horse-crazy growing up, I went on to ride and compete and it is true that it is a dangerous sport. I have fallen off more times than I can recount, once ending up in the hospital. I still ride.
This child probably begged to ride and I really doubt it was about bragging rights for parents. My 7.5 year old daughter also loves horses and had to wait until she was 7 to start riding. She takes lessons at a place that seems extremely safe, on a pony, and I watch her like a hawk - I know that even the most gentle horses can spook or do something unpredictable.
That said, this seems like a freak accident; things like this can and have happened doing all sorts of activities - little league, gymnastics, etc.
What I want to know is was it a horse or a pony she fell from? What kind of helmet was she wearing? Did they make sure it fit properly? Did the trainer use safety stirrups (they have a thick rubber band instead of iron on the outside that releases in case a child's foot gets stuck).
My prayers go out to everyone involved. This is tragic.
the "pony" was one hand shy of horse,

United States

#58 Jan 12, 2010
I love my child very much...The word FREAK accident, meant it is an unusual circumstance. I am going to let my 3yr. old play baseball. She COULD get hit in the head with a ball, or bat and be hospitalized. Should I not let her do it? I am sure you are a PERFECT parent and have NEVER put your child in danger. I have already made mistakes and my children are 1 and 2. That is what is wrong with this world, people like you! IF YOU have NEVER endangered your childes life, or ever hurt your child on accident then kudos to you. YOU MUST be JESUS!!!!

San Francisco, CA

#59 Jan 31, 2010
Sammy wrote:
<quoted text>
I won't keep my comments to myself. Because, I have been through Equestrian competitions. My kids started when they were in their teens. I don't know the level of this little angels instruction. But I do know that age 5 is way to early. Any trainer will tell you that. You say she asked her parents? How F$^%$#@ STUPID is that. If my 5 year old asked me to drive my 6000 pound truck should I say yes. If and I say if this little girl asked to ride a thousand plus horse the answer by any sane parent would have been a resounding "NO". She was not ready the parents and the instructor should be charged with child endangerment. Who the F&^% would give a 5 years old lessons. Someone needs to go to jail. The trainer, and the stupid parents. The end result is that a little is dead, because the parents wanted to live their lives through their daughter and wanted to brag about what their daughter is doing. I am sure she would have preferred to have been at home play with her dolls, not living her parents dreams. Put these selfish parents in jail, and the trainer who accepted her also.
Sammy - I ride and show horses for the last 20 years. I own 11 of them. They are all different sizes and shapes and have different mentalities. Some are slaughter auction rescues that I have retrained and won State Championships on. Some were deemed "un-ridable" and "dangerous" but I ride and show them with no issues. I have to say I agree that 5 year old child is too young to be riding without a lead line and too young to be riding in group lessons. A 5 year old does not have the attention span or the ability to understand instruction given if they are under stress. I live near the barn where this happened, and I know the on site vet, the trainer and the people that board there. This was an unfortunate accident. The pony who ran off with this little girl, mind you, for the record was not 1500lbs, was in fact 12H and maybe 300lbs. The instructor was requested to give a lesson in which there were too many children (beginners) on individual horses (8 ponies to be exact). I don't believe this was specifically done to cause someone to get hurt. The people scheduling the lessons thought the ponies were fine. And they were, until the little girl got hung up. It was an accident, the little girl got hung up and got dragged and trampled. Any one that rides and shows knows this is the WORST fear of any rider. Horses panic when dragging an object as they feel as if the object is chasing them. I know two of the little girls that were riding their ponies in this lesson when this happened.
I read all of your postings and a few things I see. My uncle owned the largest cattle ranch in Santa Rosa for 70 years, I am curious as the name of your ranch as maybe I know your family? I can say as an exhibitor and trainer you don't have medical personal (ambulance) on site at your horse facility unless you have a rated show and have paid for them. So I don't believe you there sorry. I think if you know horses, as you claim, then you know that sometimes things just happen, no matter how prepared you are, or how much riding you have done, or how "un-spookable" your horse is. They are ANIMALS. They can not stop and process things like we can. They are insecure, sensitive and have a heightened sense of self preservation. They are ANIMALS. They cant reason or comprehend on the same level humans can. Unfortunately these things sometimes happen.
My heart and thoughts go out to the family, and all families when these things happen.

Molesey, UK

#60 Mar 19, 2010
Sammy wrote:
Who the F&*^ would let a 5 year old on a 1500 pound horse. Typical, parents trying to live their lives through their children. Because they have the money to do it. A child is dead because of your selfishness. UnF&^(ing believable. Rest in peace little girl. Parents, I hope you suffer for your selfishness, the rest of your lives. YOU killed your daughter, on one else.
You are totally wrong! I have been riding since i was 2 years old, on my own since i was 3 years old. I am not 16. It is FINE. Not many people dies in horse riding accidents its was a FREAK accident. Horses are animals and unpredictable but they are lovely and wouldn't hurt you purposefully unless you tease them or they have been mistreated. That child could have begged for horse riding lessons for all you know.

Molesey, UK

#61 Mar 19, 2010
i am now* 16 that was meant to say
patricia Slover

Wood River, IL

#62 May 23, 2010
I just sold my horse because I feared for my 5 year old grandaughter - I had been "missing" the horse and second-guessing my decision to see 2 weeks ago, but am grateful for the postings in knowing my decision was correct. God Bless

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