Second horse dies at Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races
A second horse has died at this year’s Calgary Stampede after sustaining injuries during Wednesday night’s chuckwagon races.
Calgary Stampede officials confirmed the incident occurred in Heat 2 of the Rangeland Derby at a spot roughly halfway around the track.
Obrey Motowylo's rig, racing out of Barrel 1, trailed the field when something happened to one of the horses on his team.
Once the chuckwagon came to a stop near the final turn, a tarp was placed around the horse while officials attended to the animal.
Calgary Stampede officials have confirmed the horse suffered a fractured left front radius.
It was determined by medical teams and veterinarians on the track that there was no other option for treatment and the horse was euthanized.
The Stampede says this type of injury is well-known in racing horses.
Earlier this week, one of Troy Dorchester's horses, a 14-year-old gelding, died after it collapsed during Rangeland Derby action.
The results of a necropsy on a horse that died on Monday night has not been released.
This isn’t the first time Motowylo has been in the news during a Calgary Stampede chuckwagon race.
In 2018, he suffered a broken collarbone after he fell off his wagon and went under the back wheel.
Animal rights groups are speaking out as a result of the two horse deaths at this year’s Calgary Stampede.
The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is once again condemning the chuckwagon races, calling for the event to be suspended until a panel of independent experts can be assembled to study how to make the races safer for horses.
The VHS also cited 61 animal deaths at Calgary Stampede events since 1986, however, 17 of those deaths happened in two separate incidents before drastic changes to the race format and health monitoring were brought in.
“Every year horses die or are seriously injured during the chuckwagon races,” the organization said in a tweet.
The social media post goes on to say, “Racing chuckwagons is not an officially recognized event of the CPRA. Its sole purpose is entertainment. Horses should not die for human entertainment!”
The Calgary Humane Society (CHS) shares a similar point of view and does not support any form of entertainment in which an animal is put at risk of suffering undue stress, pain, injury or death.
"We have always had the position statement that we do not condone animals being at risk of injury illness or death in high-risk rodeo events, such as what we see at the chuckwagon races," said Phil Fulton, Calgary Humane Society. "We don’t like to see any animals put in harm’s way for entertainment purposes, and when it’s a high risk event that means anything that is a high risk event such as what we see at the chuck wagon races, there’s a high risk of injury or in this case certainly death."
The CHS says it will maintain an open dialogue with the Calgary Stampede Board regarding animal welfare.
"The reason we choose to work with the Stampede is because we know that it’s not going anywhere and we have no ability or legal groundwork to do anything to stop the rodeo," said Fulton.
The Calgary Stampede says all horses competing at the Stampede are microchipped and tracked for exertion and rest periods, as well as inspected by a veterinary team before they’re cleared to compete.