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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 7:23 pm | Fair 56º


Councilman Hotchkiss Thrown From Horse Before Parade

Santa Barbara City Councilman Frank Hotchkiss was thrown off his horse in the staging ground for the Old Spanish Days Historical Parade on Friday, and was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries, according to the Santa Barbara City Fire Department.

Firefighters and paramedics responded to the call at about 11:45 a.m., and took Hotchkiss to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital as a precaution, since head and neck injuries are a big concern when falling from that height, fire Battalion Chief Robert Mercado said.

“It’s a big distance,” he noted.

Hotchkiss, reached by telephone Friday afternoon, said most of his lower left back was very sore, and hospital staff were checking to make sure nothing was broken, but he hopes to be up and about in a day or two.

“I was at Pershing Park before the parade,” he said. “It’s a good thing, too; all of a sudden my horse shied and bucked me kind of straight up in the air. I landed flat on my back on the grass.”

He has ridden horses many times before, but had never been on that particular horse, he said.

The animal apparently was spooked when Hotchkiss pulled off his hat to wave to someone.

The Historical Parade is one of the largest equestrian parades in the country, and has hundreds of riders on horseback making their way up State Street every year for Old Spanish Days.

City firefighters also responded to an incident involving a fall from a horse near the end of the parade on Micheltorena Street, Mercado said. A man and woman were riding the same horse and it's unclear whether the horse tripped or was spooked, but both people ended up on the ground, according to City Fire. 

Both people were taken to the hospital on backboards, as a cervical spine precaution. They complained of back and neck pain, responding firefighters said. It's normal for City Fire to respond to a few incidents at the parade every year, though the riders who come out for Fiesta are usually very experienced, they noted. 

— Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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