SPANISH FORK, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – An 11-year-old girl was injured when she was thrown from a horse at a 4H show Tuesday morning.
During these 4H horse competitions riders are required to wear a helmet, which witnesses say this girl was, at the time of the incident. Witnesses say it is a reminder just how dangerous the sport can be.
Around 10 a.m., Audrey Wilkerson was sitting near her trailer when she looked up and saw a horse rear up in the parking lot.
“I heard everyone say ‘Should I call 911?’” said Wilkerson.
Witnesses say the horse not only reared but eventually came down on the girl.
“Rearing up they can just completely tip over,” said Wilkerson.
What made things worse is it didn’t happen on the soft dirt of the arena, but the hard, rocky surface of the parking lot. Wilkerson says the girl was knocked out for some time as emergency crews arrived on scene and eventually took her by air ambulance to Utah Valley Hospital.
Crews later found out it was a bit in the horse’s mouth which slipped and likely caused the issue.
“It was reported that a bit was improperly placed in the mouth of the horse causing the horse to act up and then causing the horse to rear up and throw the rider form the horse,” said Lt. Matt Johnson with Spanish Fork Police Department.
Wilkerson says she’s never seen anything like this, but knows that danger is a part of the sport. She says it’s not the horse or rider’s fault, but it can just happen at any moment.
“I don’t know what type of injuries she has, but I really hope she’s OK,” said Wilkerson.
The last report is that the girl had severe head injuries, but first responders have not given a current update on her condition.