A hay ride quickly turned into a frightening and dangerous experience that left at least four people injured on Sunday afternoon after multiple horses got loose at a Manitoba corn maze.
The incident took place around 2:45 p.m. at A Maze in Corn when the harness for the horses, which take people on hayrides, malfunctioned.
Clint Masse, the owner of the maze, said a volunteer was asked to stand in front and hold onto the harness, but they “got too nervous and let go.”
Masse said the horses, which were no longer harnessed at this point, then ran in the exact hayride route, but the issue was they were running too fast.
“They knew where they wanted to go, they just didn’t know what speed,” he said.
When the horses finished the loop, they knocked over the top hitching rail, which is where the next group was waiting for their hayride.
Jennifer Lander was at the corn maze celebrating her niece's sixth birthday.
She said she was in line for the hay ride when she realized the horses were coming right at them.
“I wasn’t sure what was going on at first. It took me a minute to realize there is nobody driving the hay ride, there’s no passengers,” Lander said.
She said she started to yell at people to get out of the way as the horses barrelled closer.
“I saw my sister Leslie and my niece Lucy screaming on the ground curled up,” she said.
Lander, her daughter, her sister and her niece were all hurt during the incident, with Lucy being taken to hospital.
“We’re pretty banged up and bruised, but I mean she has a cast on her arm,” said Leslie Garner, who is Lucy’s mother and Lander’s sister.
“I don’t know how the top of the hitching post didn’t hit me and Lucy.”
An ambulance came to the scene, but Masse didn’t know the exact injuries. At least two people were taken to Health Sciences Centre.
He noted that he doesn’t blame the volunteer for what happened and he feels terrible about it.
“When the horse did horsey things, he thought that was the horse trying to intimidate him and it was fearful,” said Masse.
Lander and her family understand mistakes happen, but they feel no one should be handling a horse without being trained.
“If the horses hadn’t gone that way and not hit the wooden pool, thank god, I mean, they would have trampled people. So lucky nobody got hit by a horse,” Lander said.
A Maze in Corn is located near Saint Adolphe, Man., approximately 25 kilometres south of Winnipeg.