Woman Hurt in Fall From Horse at Ojai Festival

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A woman was injured during a performance at the Ojai Renaissance Festival on Saturday when she was thrown from a horse and briefly pinned underneath it.

The unidentified performer, who was treated and released from Ojai Valley Hospital, was riding in a relay race as part of the festival's noon performance.

"The horse just spooked," said Brian Allen, a festival employee who was watching the show. "She fell and it pinned her."

Officials at the festival gave conflicting reports of the woman's injuries. Some said she had broken a bone in her shoulder, while others said she had suffered only minor ligament damage.

A spokesman for Ojai Ambulance, which took the woman to the hospital, said she had bad pain in her shoulder. "It was not clear to us if she had broken anything," spokesman Steve Frank said. "But we treated it as a fracture."

The fall left the woman motionless in front of a small audience for several minutes.

Festival officials played down the accident. "It was nothing serious," said Mike Tolin, director of the festival. "Unfortunately, when you deal with animals, accidents can happen."

Andrew Melancon, who is president of the riding club that performs the show, also classified the accident as minor. "It was really nothing but a minor fall that left one woman in a sling."

The Ojai Renaissance Festival is a twice-yearly event on the shores of Lake Casitas that celebrates Medieval times with craftsmen, entertainment and food. Officials said about 4,000 people attended the festival Saturday, which is a low turnout for the event. They said they expected larger crowds today and next weekend.

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