Lawsuit claims trio injured when horses bolted

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SANDPOINT — A trio of Spokane residents are suing a local ranch after they said they were injured when horses pulling a sleigh bolted without a driver.

Barbara Chapman, John Rose and Jennifer Rose said they suffered lasting injuries during the incident at the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch in December 2016.

The plaintiffs said they arranged the holiday gathering with other family members and looked forward to the sleigh ride.

“They were loaded into a horse-drawn sleigh and quickly departed on what was sure to be a memorable journey,” attorneys Kathleen and Michael Paukert said in a civil complaint filed in 1st District Court on Feb. 8.

The excursion went sideways after the sleigh was stopped to rest the horses, the suit said. When members of the sleigh party re-boarded, they reported that the driver yelled for everyone to immediately disembark.

Some were able to leave the sleigh, while others were not.

“Soon thereafter this peaceful sleigh ride turned into a calamity that haunts the passengers to this day,” the Paukerts said in the suit.

The plaintiffs, in addition to an infant and 2- and 4-year-old children, said they were subjected to a four- to five-minute ride in which the sleigh crashed into rocks and obstacles, which threw the occupants around the sleigh and caused injuries.

Chapman suffered injuries to her face, neck and head. John Rose suffered a hand injury which requires surgery.

The suit seeks unspecified damages for their injuries, in addition to the mental trauma of the incident.

Western Pleasure has 21 days to file an answer to the civil complaint.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by phone at 208-263-9534, by email at and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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