Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Betty bounces back from fall

by Chris Schultz

July 19, 2012

A horse that went down in front of Chicago Style Pizza in the 100 block of Center Street on July 8 was reportedly unhurt in the fall.

Betty, one of three horses that pull tour carriages around the city, tripped and fell at about 8:30 p.m.

Because of the harness used on the carriage, Betty could not get up and had to be assisted back to her hooves by owner Caroline Ausman.

Since then, Betty's been on hiatus, cooling her fetlocks at Field Stone Carriage & Pony, Burlington.

"Betty's doing great," said Ausman, who owns Field Stone Farm. Field Stone has had the contract to do carriage tours in Lake Geneva for nine years, Ausman said. She said this is the first time she's had a horse fall.

She said the brown Standardbred is not showing any signs of stress from the accident.

"I plan on driving her again," Ausman said.

Ausman said the cause of Betty's fall is still unknown. The pavement where she fell doesn't appear to be rough or uneven, Ausman said.

According to the Lake Geneva police, an officer talked with Ausman as she led the horse back to the trailer which was parked near Madison Street.

According to police, the horse appeared to be OK.

Ausman reportedly told the officer that Betty was fine, just hot.

"This weather is terribly difficult on horses," Ausman said of the summer heat.

She said she cancelled tours the week before Betty took her spill, and she will cancel carriage rides during heat advisories or limit tours to night hours when days seem unusually hot.

Betty has an extensive resume.

She started as a harness racer. When her racing career was over, she was sold to an Amish family to pull their family buggy.

This is her third year pulling carriage tours in Lake Geneva, Ausman said.

Ausman said she bought Betty from a man in Lake Geneva, who was looking to give the horse a good home.

Before her fall, Betty was a relief horse for the other two carriage horses, Maddie and Oshkosh, working two or three days a week, Ausman said. Betty is in her 20s, and is a very experienced carriage horse, Ausman said.

All of the horses have to be experienced to deal with city traffic, she added.

Tours run about a half hour, starting at the lake front, going through the business district but spending most of the time in the historic Maple Park District, Ausman said. Tour dates are daily from May through mid-October.

During the winter, tours are weekends or by reservation, she said.