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Tourist injured by spooked horse

Aug 02 2012

A female tourist was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm Wednesday afternoon after a horse pulling a carriage spooked and dumped her and two others in Chinatown.

The 10-year-old Clydesdale named Sarge came in contact with a tour bus on Fisgard Street.

"I think it was probably pretty tight between the lanes," said Larry Friedlander, owner of Tally-Ho Carriage Tours.

The bus struck the horse on its shoulder, causing the horse to back up and jack-knife the carriage, said Friedlander.

"Then the driver fell out and one of the passengers either fell out or jumped out," he said.

The horse, still strapped to the carriage, bolted down Store Street and then onto Wharf Street, where it struck a car and the other passenger tumbled out. The horse stopped on Wharf between Fort and Humboldt streets.

Sarge was likely heading back to the stand at Menzies and Belleville streets, where the horses wait between tours, Friedlander said.

The horse was not harmed and calmed down quickly once he was unhooked from the carriage, he said.

Every year, there are instances of tour horses getting spooked and running out of control.

"It absolutely feels horrible because you're dealing with live animals," Friedlander said. "It's not like a collision with a vehicle, where you can hit the brakes and stop. We have brakes on the carriages, but you'll never stop a horse with brakes."

This is Sarge's fifth year pulling carriages. Victoria police are investigating the incident.

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