Officials at the Calgary Stampede are investigating the injury of a passenger and the death of a horse in separate chuckwagon training incidents today.
Officials said driver Tim Haroldson was a passenger on a wagon driven by fellow driver Jerry Bremner.
The wagon rolled while coming around one of the barrels during training.
Haroldson was thrown from the wagon and taken by ambulance to hospital for evaluation and treatment. Bremner was not injured.
“We are hoping for the best for Tim,” said Paul Rosenberg, vice-president of programming at the Stampede.
The Stampede is reviewing the circumstances of the incident to determine what happened, but initial indications are that there was nothing out of the ordinary with regards to the wagon, the horses or the tack.
In the other incident, a wagon horse belonging to the outfit of Reg Johnstone collapsed and died after completing the team’s training run.
No other horses in the outfit were injured.
The horse was a 12-year-old thoroughbred named Denny, who had been owned by Johnstone for about five years.
He was acquired from another chuckwagon driver after his initial career as a racehorse in the Vancouver area.
The horse had last raced about a week ago at the Ponoka Stampede.
A post-mortem examination will be performed to help determine cause of death.
The Vancouver Humane Society reacted with dismay to the incidents, arguing chuckwagon racing was fundamentally unsafe.
It said the Stampede should suspend its chuckwagon races.
“We are extremely sad to hear about these incidents,” spokesman Peter Fricker said. “We hope the injured man makes a full recovery.”
The society called on Stampede organisers to establish an independent panel of equine and veterinary experts to review the chuckwagon race to see if it can be made safer.
“It’s clear that right now this event is fundamentally unsafe and should be suspended until a thorough review can take place,” Fricker said.