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Spooked Horse Breaks Into Dallas MLK Parade Crowd

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
Bud is the most veteran reporter at CBS 11 News with 42 years in m...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) -All it took was a loud band and a nervous horse for the traditional Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in South Dallas to take on the image of a wild west roundup.

Organizers were eventually able to corral the runaway horse, but not until two people suffered minor injuries. About 4,000 attended the event.

“There was a horse actually running through the crowd,” said parade watcher Charles Hollingsworth. “I guess the horse was just actually spooked and he was just dodging and running through everybody.”

According to both police and the horse’s owner, a band startled the animal. The 8-year-old quarter horse named Ann was only partly ready to participate in the parade –– she had a saddle, but no bridle.

The horse jumped a metal barricade and was off and running.

“He was just running wild,” said Hollingsworth, “There was no bridle on him or anything; seemed like he just broke loose from somebody.”

Police say they trailed the animal for nearly half-an-hour, fearful it would harm spectators.

Two people were slightly injured: Mattie Ellis had her foot taped up and returned to watch the parade.

She declined to comment.

But Chrisharo Gilder went to the hospital as a precaution. She said she didn’t know there was anything wrong until there was a sudden commotion behind her.

“We turned around [and] the horse was right up on us and it stepped on my leg, which caused me to fall into the other lady that got injured,” she said.

Deputy Dallas Police Chief Julian Bernal supervised the chase for Ann.

“The horse was very upset, agitated,” he said.

His motorcycle officers turned into impromptu wranglers. Half a dozen of them finally cornered the frightened beast.

“One of the motorcycle officers was sharp and quick enough to grab the horse by the saddle leather and held her until the rest of the officers could grab ahold of the saddle and walk her off the course…the parade route,” Bernal said.

A nervous Ann spent the rest of the parade in a nearby empty lot, watching like other spectators.

“She appeared to have hurt her leg when she jumped over the barricades,” Bernal said. “But she was very agitated and we had a hard time calming her down.”

Ann’s owner wouldn’t be interviewed on camera but said the horse has been in parades before without any issues.

Bernal says this appears to be only an accident and doesn’t think any criminal charges will be filed.

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