April 23, 2014

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Death prompts fair to rework horse stalls

WELLINGTON — Gypsy did not die in vain.
Because of the death of the 8-year-old horse impaled by a metal post at last year’s Lorain County Fair, new accommodations with a hefty $10,000 price tag are being planned to keep it from happening again.
The new design will still call for tie posts. However, they no longer will have steel T-posts — the same kind that Brittany Mills’ horse landed on when she bucked while tied in a narrow stall. In addition, instead of just a rope to keep in the animals, a gate will placed behind each stall.
“Everything will slide into either the ground or the wall,” said Pam Loy, president of the Lorain County Senior Horse Council. “It will not be the box stalls everyone wants, but it’s a start at making sure another child doesn’t have to go through what that little girl did.”
Hours after Gypsy died at last year’s fair, Brittany was still in tears, clutching a braided piece of blond horse mane in her hands. Days later, a Penfield Township couple gave the 11-year-old girl a new horse hoping to ease the pain of Gypsy’s loss.
The new stall design will not limit the number of horses that can be shown at the fair.
The project will cost between $8,000 and $10,000.
The Lorain County Fair Board will put up a little less than half of the needed funds, and that means the horse council must come up with the balance by mid-July.
The price covers about
75 stalls, Loy said.
“The fair board has stepped up to the plate, but we have to, too, if we are to make sure our young future leaders enjoy a safe and happy fair week with their horses,” she said. “We are in dire need, and every little bit will help.”
Nonetheless, the new plan will not be enough to force Mills back into fair competition. Instead, the young girl said she will stick with a safer 4-H project: two rabbits.
“It’s just not enough, not for my horses,” she said.
Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.