A woman in a T-Rex costume harassed and spooked carriage horses, resulting in an accident that could have caused major injuries.
The incident occurred on Church Street when a woman wearing a dinosaur costume was walking on a sidewalk, just ahead of the carriage. The woman began to make growling noises at the carriage horses, causing the horses to spook and begin to back up.
The carriage got stuck on an unoccupied vehicle, and the driver lost his balance and fell off of the carriage. One of the carriage wheels rolled over one of his legs, and he was taken to the nearby Roper Hospital. During the incident, one of the horses slipped and fell to a sitting position.
You can see video of the incident below:
No passengers were injured. Yogi, the horse who fell, received minor abrasions. His teammate, Boo Boo, was unharmed.
When the woman in the T-rex costume approached the carriage, both the carriage driver and multiple bystanders told her to move away from the carriage horses. The woman ignored the commands, standing by the side of the road as the incident occurred.
The woman later turned herself in to police, and is identified as Nicole Wells. She faces charges of wearing a mask or disguise, a crime in South Carolina. The charges have since been dropped with no reason from prosecutors. But the Palmetto Carriage Works is still considering suing the woman.
Carriage driver Van Sturgeon praised how well his horses handled the incident. In a press statement, Sturgeon remarked:
"Perhaps she did not realize what a threat that appeared to be to my animals, but they responded remarkably well. Any animal, you included, are entitled to your flight response, the key is how quickly do you come back under control. If I throw a snake on you and you jump, you're entitled to that, but if you can come back and get in control really quickly, that's the key to emotional control and both of the animals demonstrated that."
It's important for the public to remember that horses are easily spooked, and once spooked, it can be difficult to regain control. Harassing horses, whether they're carriage horses or are under saddle, can put not only the riders and drivers, but also the general public in danger.
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