BAZETTA - After Saturday's qualifier, a few good horse riders from Cortland earned the right to compete against international riders next month during the weeklong Super Ride in Lindale, Texas.
But when near tragedy struck during the Buckeye Blitz open Equestrian Drill Team competition Saturday at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds, members of different equestrian drill teams pulled together as one family.
"That's the type of sportsmanship that you find with drill,'' host Boot Scootin' Buckeyes drillmaster Lori Corley said. ''It's exciting, it's team-oriented. Rather than kids competing against each other all the time, they can work with each other.''
Leah Dodd, 16, of Massachusetts, lies in the ring Saturday after falling from her horse during the Buckeye Blitz open equestrian drill team competition at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds. She was treated for minor injuries at St. Elizabeth Health Center, Youngstown.
Members of the Crimson Acres Glory Riders equestrian drill team from Massachusetts compete Saturday at the Trumbull County Fairgrounds. The team was two riders short after Dodd was injured and left for the hospital with her mother, another team member.
The eight members of Crimson Glory Riders of Massachusetts were waving Old Glory herself as their horses pranced across the ground to the music through their routine.
Then team member Leah Dodd, 16, fell from her horse.
The music stopped. People rushed to the fallen rider, who was not moving. Moments later, an announcement was made to stable all of the horses.
Emergency responders transported Dodd to St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, where she was treated for minor injuries. She was expected to be released by today, according to Corley, who saw the fall.
"It seemed as though the horse turned really fast and she kind of kept going straight," Corley said.
Dodd's team drove more than 11 hours from their home state of Massachusetts to take part in the event. Their coach, Sandy Whitmore, said the ride took its toll on the horses as well.
Despite being down two team members - Dodd and her mother, who accompanied her daughter to the hospital - the Crimson Glory Riders relearned their drill for six riders and began their routine again.