Veterinarian says injured horse couldn’t be saved

Horse was spooked by illegal dirt bike riders at Folsom Lake
By: Joyia Emard, Gold Country Media News Service
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Dr. Jack Abrahams, a Granite Bay veterinarian, made an emergency call to Folsom Lake on Saturday, Jan. 3, to examine Toby, the horse injured after being spooked by illegal dirt bike riders. He determined that the horse could not be saved. Abrahams said he had to be taken by a ranger in a four-wheel drive vehicle to the remote spot where the injured horse was stranded. “There wasn’t a lot I could do for him,” Abrahams said, explaining that based on a visual exam, the horse had suffered a “deep laceration,” ruptured ligaments and had been hemorrhaging. Abrahams said the horse couldn’t walk and was in a lot of pain. Dr. Abrahams said he then euthanized the horse. According to Abrahams, horses and dirt bikes are a “dangerous mix.” He said the motorcycle’s loud noise is frightening and a horse’s defense is flight. “They just take off as fast as possible, then losing their rider is even more frightening. That was an extremely dangerous situation,” he said. Abrahams is the veterinarian of record for Jeri Sust, the horse's owner. Sust was riding Toby when he was spooked by dirt bike riders and broke into a run, throwing Sust. Her riding helmet was broken in the fall. Abrahams said Sust could have been severely injured. He said he has seen incidents at Folsom Lake where a rider’s foot is caught in a stirrup when thrown and the rider is dragged. He also said the exposed lake bottom is very treacherous for horses because of the combination of soft sand, boulders and jagged rocks. “If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, I wouldn’t have walked away,” Sust said of the accident. According to Richard Preston, supervising ranger at Folsom Lake State Recreation Area, off road vehicles, such as dirt bikes, are not allowed in any part of the park. Street-legal vehicles are only allowed in designated areas of the park. Preston asks that any illegal activities within the State Park lands at Folsom Lake be reported to State Parks dispatch at 358-1300. Joyia Emard is a staff writer for the Loomis News.