June 27, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Girl’s horse dies before county fair competition

The Junior Fair Horse and Pony Show at the Medina County Fair was missing one of its competitors Tuesday.

At about 9:45 p.m. Monday — less than 12 hours before the show was scheduled to begin — Rango, a 9-year-old quarter-horse, was hit by a truck and killed in front of the animal’s trainer.

The accident occurred in the 3000 block of Beach Road in Sharon Township when 15-year-old Samantha Zeiger was washing Rango at a neighbor’s farm across the street from her home in preparation for Tuesday’s competition.

Her father, Dr. Todd Zeiger, a family physician, said Samantha told him something spooked the horse and he ran from the bathing stall.

“They tend to run to the place they know and he knew his way home,” Zeiger said.

He said his daughter chased after the horse and watched as he ran into the road where he was hit by a pickup driven by an employee of Hinckley Roofing.

The horse, Zeiger said, suffered severe injuries to the front of his body and most likely was killed on impact and did not suffer.

The impact crumpled the front end of the truck above the bumper. The driver was not seriously injured but was taken by ambulance to a nearby Akron General emergency room facility for minor scrapes and bruises, Hinckley Roofing confirmed.

The company declined to provide the driver’s name and a report from the Ohio Highway Patrol was not available.

Zeiger said his daughter was emotionally distraught and not available for an interview.

“She’s certainly sad and feeling guilty,” he said. “Her first emotion was to worry that I would be mad at her because he was my horse.”

Zeiger said he and his wife heard the collision and screaming in front of their house and their first worry was that their daughter had been hurt.

Zeiger said he is grateful Samantha was not injured.

“We just hugged for quite a bit then and that was the overriding emotion, that I was standing there still holding onto my daughter,” he said.

The family had Rango for two years and bought him from a college student in Mount Gilead.

While Samantha has a mare she rides and showed in Monday’s English riding event at the fair, the family decided to enter Rango this year as well and Samantha handled the training.

Rango never had competed in anything until two weeks ago. The Zeigers already knew they would enter the horse in the Western riding and speed events at the fair but decided to try his luck at a benefit horse show at Aiken Acres in Hinckley Township. Rango’s performance was encouraging.

“Sam’s last ride on him, they ran the barrel race and won first prize,” Zeiger said.

Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or dpompili@medina-gazette.com.