Two skijoring horses die after falls a week apart in US

| 9 March 2016 10:00 am | 1 Comment
Skijoring with horses; some variants include slalom gates and jumps. By Kaila Angello - Photographer Kaila Angello, CC BY-SA 3.0

Skijoring with horses; some variants include slalom gates and jumps. © Kaila Angello CC BY-SA 3.0

Two horses have died as the result of injuries in skijoring accidents only a week apart in Colorado in the US.

At a competition in Leadville last weekend, Jesslyn (JJ) Swirka of Fairplay was riding her quarter horse gelding Logan and pulling Leadville resident Duffy Counsell behind on skis down the town’s main street. Thousands were watching as Logan took a false step and crashed, breaking his leg. The competition was suspended after the accident.

Jesslyn Swirka and Logan in action.

Jesslyn Swirka and Logan in action. © Skijoring America

The week before in Minturn, rider Lenny Hay of Wyoming, riding Pepper and dragging sport skier Colin Cook of Montana, had completed the course for the February 27 competition, when Pepper took “an unfortunate misstep at the end,” according to event organizer Loren Zhimanskova of Skijor International.

The sport of skijoring consists of a team of a single horse, generally guided by a rider, pulling the person on skis who carries no poles and simply hangs onto a tow rope in a manner akin to water skiing.

Skijoring behind a horse is said to have originated as a method of winter travel, but today is primarily a competitive sport. It was a demonstration sport in the 1928 Winter Olympics.

It was Logan’s third season skijoring. The 12-year-old gelding works as a roping/ranching horse for the rest of the year.

Just over $2000 was raised at Leadville’s Award ceremony to benefit JJ Swirka on behalf of the loss of Logan. Swirka is on the mend after the accident but sustained no serious injuries.


Category: News

Comments (1)

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  1. Duncan McDonald says:

    When crossing at an intersection with your 2 week old baby you wouldn’t push the stroller out into the oncoming traffic would you? Your Horse is a Sentient Being you must treat with the same care and attention as your New Born Child….
    If not go to the Dusty Main street and, put an end it all with that 6 shooter strapped to you hip!

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