I understand these kinds of accidents are part of the risks of racing (which is why I do dressage) but why call them "freak" accidents when they aren't that at all? Freak: "abnormal phenomenon, aberration, anomaly", "sudden, apparently causeless turn of events". I don't think that catastrophic injuries at high speed, whether in racing or eventing, can be considered "causeless". Of course, one hopes to avoid them through preparation and conditioning, but for horse and rider, the risks are real and understood. (not speaking about the accident to the handler, which from the little information given is hard to evaluate).
Best to be honest about the risks than pretend they are a complete surprise.
When a race meet runs for years with no equine fatalities, then has 2 in one weekend, I think "freak" is a perfectly acceptable word to use. Middleburg is a great course, very horse friendly. I'm sure more horses die in freak paddock accidents every year than are injured to the point of needing to be euthanized at steeplechase meets.
I was there, all day, both days. I was on the course when the falls occurred. I was near the paddock when Stoney was injured.
What, errr, Cody, do you .... suggest we ... "do about" the "freak accidents"?
I read that article and couldn't understand why the Chronicle chose to write about the negative aspects of the weekend. Didn't write who won... just about the accidents. I was there both days as well and am pretty certain the general public had no idea about the accidents - they didn't involve crash up derbies - in both cases a single horse - one took a bad step, one fell. things that happen at home in the paddock all the time.
Indeed, Hilldale, hte only reason I realized the flat breakdown wasn't just a typical sore/pullup was the poor gals from the horse's stable were hugging/crying/grieving and you could just tell it was bad. Heart breaking misstep. The other horse was just a faller. Bad luck. The poor man in the paddock was highly unusual but in that sense one of those totally normal abnormal occurences in the horse world! Remember poor old Shelly Malone who many years ago fell just so and her horse stepped on her heart and killed her. Totally normal tumble on a reliable horse out for a hack on a pretty day with friends. The national press (not, ahem, the *local* press!) could NOT get over the fact that someone (Michelle Rouse, I think) they interviewed afterewards said 'That never happens!' and they took it to mean 'That never happens, it must be murder!' and ran with it. What she meant was, 'That never happens - suck-y luck!'
Same thing at Va. Fall.