Horse Dies at Helldorado Parade

Las Vegas – A horse was killed during the Helldorado Parade in downtown Las Vegas this weekend. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police say the incident happened just before 10am on Saturday, May 11. Officials say the horse was in a staging area when it spooked and bolted down Charleston Boulevard. Police attempted to capture the horse but were unable to do so. The horse was struck by a pickup truck and died at the scene. The occupants of the vehicle received minor injuries. Police say they do not know what spooked the horse.

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  1. I’d like you all to picture in your minds 40 horses standing calmly at their staging area, riders relaxed and talking to each other and the public… Then out of the blue, drummers from a marching band, (that had quietly taken their places in front of us a few minutes before parade start) broke that atmosphere with multiple big bass drums… BAM BAM BAMMA BAMMA BAM BAM BAM repeatedly… It was like a firing squad opening fire! It surprised everyone and almost every horse reacted to some degree. My horse has been in a dozen parades without flinching and it was hard for me to control him during this incident. One horse yanked free of his rider and instinctively bolted, as is their nature. Perhaps the horse wasn’t ready for the level of exposure, but hindsight is 20-20. I maintain my opinion that this tragic accident could’ve been prevented with a modicum of consideration for animal safety by the organizers. I don’t place the blame on the parade officials, only pointing out that they need to place complimenting participants next to each other, not wherever they feel is best, or wherever they have a vacant spot to fill.

    My eye witness account of what really happened to the horse at the Helldorado parade!
    (by Sin City Riders member, Melissa Ohlsson)

    ANGRY, DISGUSTED AND SAD!
    Not a good day for equestrians at the Helldorado Parade here in Las Vegas. DON’T believe what you may have heard on the news! Just a few minutes before parade time, the marching band in front of us fired up their drums without warning, spooking many of the horses, including mine. One horse got away from its rider and ended up running east down Charleston Blvd… some of our riders, Metro Mounted Police and a few motorcycle cops tried to get ahead and stop the horse, but sadly, it was hit by a truck at 15th St and Charleston and died instantly.

    Regardless of what the news channels and newspapers reported, the horse wasn’t misbehaving and the rider was not at fault! This was a tragic accident that proper parade planning, by experienced professionals, (not by a city committee) would’ve gone a long way to prevent. Horses and other animals need special consideration for public events like parades. Sure, your horse needs training to participate, but animal welfare doesn’t seem to even be on the planner’s radar! Last year 500 choppers fired up all at once within a few feet from our horses. The year before that, fighter jets buzzed 4th St. (at casino height) right over our heads, sending horses into a nervous frenzy. These concerns were brought to the city’s attention and we unfortunately assumed they would be addressed. The planners need to realize that some groups will compliment others and put them in front, or behind, each other, instead of simply putting groups wherever they choose!
    This marching band was, by far, the worst! Even though the abrupt drumming was obviously agitating and scaring the horses, neither officials, nor the bandleader stopped it. They were more concerned with filling the gap the disturbance created in the parade flow.
    Our Hog’s and Heifers Saloon after party will never be the same after enduring this loss.
    My deepest sympathies are with this poor horse’s owner… who is also a friend of mine. I’m so sorry this happened! RIP sweet horse… run with the wind! 🥺

    I would like to ad that we have yet to hear from city officials regarding this terrible tragedy.

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