The video below shows the incident as it happened: rider Armando Martinez Ruiz was performing alongside other horses, during the dancing section of the parade. He lost control of the horse, who tried to throw him off, but he held on the reins.
At one point, you can see Ruiz let go of the reins and the horse runs off, dragging him on the ground for a few feet. The animal then runs into a small crowd sitting on the pavement. You can see the actual trampling, but police confirm that an 8-year-old boy was taken to the hospital with injuries to his legs after the horse ran him over. He is expected to make a full recovery.
Meanwhile, Ruiz must face the music: police say he was drunk when he got on the horse and that’s why he wasn’t able to control the animal and avoid the near-tragedy.
“The problem was him, not the horse, let me tell you something,” Colusa Police Sgt. Elden Tamez tells the media, adding that this is the first time they arrest anyone for DUI while riding a horse.
“We’re just thankful it wasn’t bigger than it was and I’m sure we’re probably gonna take a look at including horses in our future parades,” Tamez said. “In California, the same laws apply when riding horses as driving cars.”
The organizer of the event, Fausto Ruela, tells the press that he hopes such a beautiful tradition won’t end on a bitter note, because this isolated incident. For his part, he says he instructed his riders never to get on a horse if they have consumed alcohol.