Seven horses on their way to the HITS Coachella Desert Circuit horse show were involved in a serious trailer accident Jan. 11 on Interstate 10 in Redlands, Calif.
All horses were traveling from hunter/jumper trainer Alexis Taylor Silvernale’s Aleron Training Stables in Kirkland, Wash., to the HITS showgrounds in Thermal, Calif., when the Brook Ledge Horse Transportation van carrying them was side-swiped by a tractor-trailer.
According to The Press Enterprise, at 8 a.m. yesterday, the tractor-trailer lost control, swerved into the center divider, bounced off of it, and then veered towards the slow lanes of traffic. The Brook Ledge van was traveling in the right lane, and a portion of its side was ripped off.
A Redlands Animal Control officer was on the scene to handle the horses after the accident, which resulted in 75 gallons of diesel fuel being spilled onto the road.
According to Alexis’ husband, Joe Silvernale, six horses were unharmed. Initial media reports said that one horse had been euthanized and others taken to an equine hospital.
“In fact, we unfortunately had one seriously injured horse, who is now at SoCal Equine Hospital [in Norco] being cared for by their team,” said Joe. “The remaining six horses were all transported safely from the accident scene to the HITS show park and are resting comfortably in their show stalls. We had them checked out by our vets when they arrived at the show park. As far as we can tell, based on the information to-date, it’s just a really unfortunate accident. It’s every trainer and barn’s worst nightmare to think about any of their clients’ horses being injured.”
Joe said Brook Ledge is their usual long-distance hauler, and Alexis was waiting at the show for the van that was involved in the accident, as well as another load of horses.
Joe declined to name the injured horse or his owner, citing privacy.
“He’s an absolute barn favorite,” he said. “He’s young, 18 hands, a big guy and just an absolute sweetheart, and everybody is pulling for him. On behalf of Alexis, the outpouring of support and good wishes from the hunter/jumper community has been amazing, and we appreciate all the support and thoughts for [the horse] as everybody is pulling for him. He’s still with us this morning, but he has been seriously injured, so we’re just keeping our fingers crossed,” he said.
“I would just like to say thank you to the California Highway Patrol. They were able to escort an additional horse trailer that we sent up there to be able to get our horses off the accident scene and safely to the show park. They did a great job helping us,” he added. “We’d like to thank all of the first responders and our vet team for taking such good care of our animals in this unfortunate accident. A shoutout to the Brook Ledge driver as well, who after being hit was able to keep the truck under control, so it didn’t roll over and make a bad situation even worse. Thank you to him for his professionalism and skill.”
Brook Ledge released a statement on their Facebook page.
“We are thankful for our steady handed driver, who was able to maintain control of our truck and trailer while another truck collided into the side of ours,” the company posted. “All horses were in box stalls. We want to provide clear and accurate information about what happened. We thank God for his provision in keeping all drivers safe.”
The City Of Redlands also posted a video of the accident on its Facebook page.