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June 18, 2010 06:08 PM

Leif Ericson Camper Talks About Horse Mishap

Sioux Falls, SD


An incident during a horse ride at the Leif Ericson Day Camp sent eight campers to the hospital Thursday.

While most of the children had bumps and bruises, a 10-year-old girl who was hospitalized overnight had more serious injuries and was released Friday afternoon.


Ten-year-old Meredith Ollerich has a few scrapes on her leg after she fell from her horse, but the scrapes are minor compared to the serious concussion she suffered in the fall. 

"I didn't really know what was happening, so I just fell to the ground head first," Meredith said.

Meredith says about 15 campers and counselors were riding horses Thursday afternoon when they came upon a group playing with drums and cowbells. 

"We were going past the part where they were playing the drums and the last two horses got scared and started running past the other horses, and the rest of the horses started speeding up after them," Meredith said.

Meredith and the seven others who fell off were taken to the hospital. That's when she started getting sick from her concussion so doctors kept her overnight. But Meredith's mother, Stephanie, is thankful the injuries weren't worse. 

"The doctor says it could have been a lot worse from the location of where she fell, and so that's all you can be thankful for is that she's okay," Stephanie Ollerich said.

All of the campers were wearing helmets during the horseback ride, and the Ollerichs say that prevented more serious injuries. 

"If she didn't have the helmet, she would have done a lot more damage. So it's good that they have that safety precaution," Stephanie said.

The Ollerichs are glad that the camp took those safety precautions and responded quickly when an afternoon horseback ride took a wrong turn. 

"It's just a freak accident and you really can't blame anybody for it, and we're just thankful everyone was there and on the ball and the counselors knew what to do," Stephanie said.

Meredith says she'll spend the weekend resting and wants to head back to camp next week. In the meantime, the YMCA is reviewing it safety procedures and policies for the camp.
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