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Horse falls from trailer on interstate

October 08, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

A horse being carried in a trailer on Interstate 81 Tuesday morning burst out of its carrier and rolled about 30 feet across the northbound lanes and into a set of cables in the median, police said.

West Virginia State Police troopers responded to the scene near the Queen Street exit in Martinsburg and held the badly-injured horse down for about 45 minutes until a Charles Town, W.Va., veterinarian specializing in horses could arrive and anesthetize the animal, said Trooper Tom Kearns.

Eight people, including the owner, veterinarian Ian Harrison and five troopers loaded the horse into its trailer so it could be taken to Harrison's office on Fifth Avenue near Charles Town Races & Slots, Kearns said.

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Despite its numerous head and body injuries, the horse was standing up and doing well Tuesday afternoon after getting medication at Harrison's office, the veterinarian said.

"He looks like he went a few rounds with Muhammad Ali, but I think he will do fine," Harrison said.

Kearns praised Harrison for his willingness to drive to Berkeley County to help the animal.

"If it wasn't for him, I don't know what we would have done," Kearns said.

The horse weighed 1,200 to 1,400 pounds, Harrison said. It was a Friesian, a breed usually used to pull wagons, Harrison said.

At one point, troopers were planning to hoist the animal onto a tow truck to get it out of the area, said Trooper 1st Class John Droppleman.

The motorist, whose name was not available, was driving his truck north on I-81 when he heard the horse creating a commotion in the trailer, troopers said.

Inside horse trailers, a bar that goes in front of the animals' chests are used to help keep them in place, Kearns said. The horse broke the bar, allowing it to move around, he said.

Kearns speculated that the horse was "slamming around in there so much" that it came out a side door and onto the interstate. The horse went into the set of cables and became entangled in them, he said.

The horse was bleeding badly and had a deep cut on its head, among other injuries, Kearns said.

The owner had some tranquilizing medicine, which he administered to help calm the animal, Harrison said.

When Harrison arrived, he fully anesthetized the horse, which then was loaded back into its trailer, Harrison said.

When Harrison got the animal to his office, he administered fluids and medicine and bandaged its wounds.

Harrison said the horse had "bits of skin" hanging off him, a swollen ear, abrasions on the knees and across the left side of the body, an abrasion over the eye, and was bleeding from an ear and the nostrils.

Harrison said the abrasions were like burns, which resulted from the horse skidding across the pavement.

The horse recently was purchased by another person and was being transported to its new home in Pennsylvania, Harrison said.

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