‘Incredibly traumatic’: Ekka horse unexpectedly dies
THE opening night of the Ekka was marred last night by the death of one of the horses in its EkkaNites program.
Showgoers who witnessed the horse fall were heartbroken to learn that it could not be saved by on duty vets.
Some parents said they had to take their children home before the fireworks because they were too upset to continue at the show.
Others said the incident was "incredibly traumatic."
The horse was one of eight Clydesdales that had pulled a wool wagon as part of the A Drovers Tale arena show.
In a statement the RNA said: "A horse that was exiting the main arena last night unfortunately collapsed and could not be revived.
"The horse had been part of an eight horse team that had finished its performance in the night show and was leaving the main arena.
"The horse collapsed and onsite vets were on the scene immediately.
"Our vets started to perform emergency treatment but the horse had sadly passed away
"This is a tragic accident and as such the RNA has ordered a full autopsy to be conducted to ascertain the cause of death.
"The thoughts of all at the RNA are with the horse's owners at this very sad time.
"The Ekka community cares deeply for its animals and the loss of any animal this way is felt by all."
An eyewitness said on Facebook: "We saw this happen. I wanted to let the RNA know, as they (sic) horses were walking off the grassy middle to the outer dirt track, on a type of angle, one horse looked to loose (sic) it's footing. as it tripped, the rest of the seven kept moving forward and the two others who were trying not to fall as well got pulled down. It was then like dominoes."
Some showgoers reported on Facebook that they had been worried about the horses before the accident.
"I could see they had a hard time making those turns and (sic) few times I thought one would break a leg," one posted.
Another said she thought the horses may have been spooked by children climbing on the barriers.
"We were sitting right next to where the accident occurred. The amount of children standing on, and climbing on the barricades was a joke. They were all hanging over the track. Perhaps the horses were uncomfortable with this?"