Local News

Horse receives electric shock, dies at State Fairgrounds

Posted July 19, 2010

— A horse died at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds Saturday after receiving an electric shock and hitting its head on a stall, officials said Monday.

Breeze, an 8-year-old quarter-horse owned by Stacey McAden of South Hill, Va., was participating in a National Barrel Horse Association barrel-racing event at the Hunt Horse Complex at the fairgrounds.

The horse died between 4 and 5 p.m. Saturday in Barn A at the complex. Brian Long, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said the horse became agitated after getting shocked and started thrashing about in its stall.

Fairgrounds staff called an electrician to the scene, and he found a short in the wiring. Power to the barn was cut off, and other horses in the barn were moved to other barns at the horse complex, Long said.

Electricians examined the wiring in the barn again Monday morning and focused on an exterior light, which may have contributed to a short circuit, he said.

Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. Horse Complex State Fairgrounds performs safety inspections on horse barns

"It's just an unfortunate accident that we would like to make sure we can prevent from happening again," Long said. "We want to do everything we can to get to the root of the problem and correct it."

The dead horse was taken to the Rollins Veterinary Diagnostic Lab for a necropsy to determine the cause of death.

McAden said her horse died from trauma it suffered after the shock. She said she is grateful for the support the area equestrian community has shown her in recent days.

A quarter-horse show is planned at the Hunt Horse Complex for the coming weekend, and Long said it would go on as planned. Technicians will inspect the wiring in the other barns at the complex to ensure they're safe, but Barn A will remain closed, he said.


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  • rbjernig Jul 20, 2010

    i have showed at the state fairgrounds before but never have my horse stayed in the stall becuase 1 anything like that can happen 2 for the stalls to cost so much they sure arent safe.. i feel so sorry for stacey becuase i know how bad it can be to lose a horse but to lose a very competive horse at that!!! i know its probably bad but if this would have happened to me i know would be looking foward to some money becuase she probably has a bunch of money in the horse from training and going all over to show the horse! stacey my heart goes out to you!

  • EponaEventing Jul 20, 2010

    I have shown at the complex and kept my stallion in those barns. I for one have never liked the way any of the barns are set up. The electrical wiring has always appeared funky to me and I always triple check anything near my horses stall before I use a fan, clippers etc.
    It is very sad. My heart goes out to the horses owner.

  • brannonfarm Jul 19, 2010

    We had 6 horses in barn A (which had to be evacuated with the rest). We have also been in Barn E on another occasion. I can say first hand, that the electrical outlets in the barn are OUTSIDE the stalls, and mounted up out of normal reach for a horse. Fans can be securely mounted to the stall doors, etc. The stalls are box stalls with solid wooden walls. So please don't make this out to be a case of a horse "biting or chewing" wiring. :0 In my opinion, you have a horse in damp conditions due to weather, in a stall directly below a light with faulty wiring? The front of the barn is metal as well as some of the support poles. Doesn't take much (even based on the video shown) to figure out what happened. Poor Breeze was being shocked. There was also a second horse, directly across from Breeze, that had to be rescued as well.

    My horses mean the world to me so I can easily imagine the pain Stacy is feeling at the loss of Breeze. So sorry Stacy.

  • ctodd0714 Jul 19, 2010


  • MM Rebecca Jul 19, 2010

    My heart goes out to the owner/trainer. I know, first hand, the years of work put into a good horse. News worthy or not, I appreciate the opportunity to know, thus lending support to the people who are undoubtedly going to go to court here. I certainly would!

  • ladyblue Jul 19, 2010

    this is sad. I wonder will the state reimburse this horse owner for the loss of it's horse and future earnings.

  • ethomas04 Jul 19, 2010


    This story has several key factors that make it undoubtedly newsworthy. The facilty is state maintained, which makes it a prominent location. Timing is also important when considering the newsworthiness of a story- this incident happened this past weekend in the midst of show season...more relevance. Also, there is quite a large population of equine enthusiasts in the area...as an equine professional myself, I must say that I was not only shocked, but also very empathetic for Stacy. No, this isn't what you would consider "hard news," but it does evoke thought and emotion in most readers.

  • gsdnc Jul 19, 2010

    42 comments....ugh, and HOW MANY DID WRAL DELETE OR NOT POST AT ALL!!!!!!
    This is a BILLION DOLLAR INDUSTRY FOR THE STATE OF NC. The industry needs to know exactly what happened, and why, with all the money made off this facility, it has not been updated and kept safe.....

  • Havyn08 Jul 19, 2010

    I am incredibly glad this story was posted. I NEED to know this information so that I can make informed decisions about where to take my horses (and where NOT to take my horses...) in the future. There are people here who realize that human life is important, but the welfare of our animals is also of importance. The two are NOT mutually exclusive!

  • ShooterMcPossum Jul 19, 2010

    It truly is a shame to see how many people feel that this is not "front page" news because it is nothing more than a horse that was killed. There are over 53,000 horse-owning homes in this state, and the economic impact of the equine industry in NC is nearly 2 billion dollars a year. That's billion with a B. It's big business and a way of life for thousands of North Carolinians. Granted this story has very little to do with politics, scandals, or laws being broken, but it absolutely is "news" if you consider the fact that there are several hundred thousand people that own, ride and/or show horses in NC. Most of them probably do care to know that this happened.