Bronco Busting at the Calgary Stampede. Found at

Death by Numbers: Horses Killed at the Calgary Stampede — The Stats

Last updated 12 July 2019


Here are some numbers and other information gathered from the Calgary Humane Society, Vancouver Humane Society and/or the local media regarding the horses killed in Calgary Stampede events since 1986.

Peter Fricker, spokesman for the Vancouver Humane Society, said 61 horses have died from chuckwagon race-related injuries since 1986. The numbers below do not add up to 61. These numbers are arrived at by what have been reported by the media.

Please let us know if we missed anything.

1986 — 12
12 chuckwagon horses

1987 — 2
1 chuckwagon horse – collapsed and died
1 chuckwagon horse – broken leg, euthanized

1988 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse – broken leg, euthanized

1989 — 2
1 bucking horse euthanized
1 chuckwagon horse – broken leg, euthanized

1991 — 0
0 fatalities reported

1992 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse

1993 — 0
0 fatalities reported

1994 — 1
1 horse (novice bronc) – broken hind leg, euthanized

1995 — 3
1 chuckwagon horse – broken leg, euthanized
1 horse (novice saddle bronc) – head injury, euthanized
1 horse (novice bronc) – front leg, euthanized

1996 — 4
4 chuckwagon horses killed:
1 down with a heart attack, 2 euthanized, 1 with broken neck and leg

1997 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse died

1998 — 0
0 fatalities reported

1999 — 2
2 chuckwagon horses euthanized

2000 — 2

1 horse died of pulmonary aneurism; 1 horse euthanized (fractured front leg)

2001 — 1
1 chuckwagon outrider horse euthanized July 15th, collapsed and broke right shoulder

2002 — 6
1 chuckwagon outrider horse died of a heart attack on July 5 after running in Heat 1
5 other chuckwagon horses killed, details not reported

2003 — 0
0 fatalities reported

2004 — 1
1 horse euthanized (broken leg in wild ride event)

2005 — 13
9 horses killed in stampede on Bonnybrooke Bridge July 3
1 show horse, heart attack, July 8
1 chuckwagon horse, heart attack, July 15
2 chuckwagon horses (behind the scenes)

2006 — 4
2 chuckwagon horses (July 7) heart attack, broken leg
1 chuckwagon horse (July 13) broke two bones in his lower left front leg (Gary Gorst’s team)

2007 — 4
1 chuckwagon horse (Darcy Flad) euthanized
3 chuckwagon horses (Gary Gorst) injury in crash, euthanized

CBC British Columbia reports: One man was hurt and three horses died after a crash at the chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede on Saturday night [July 14, 2007]. Tyler Helmig was thrown from his rig when it ran into the downed lead team of horses of another driver, Gary Gorst, whose rig had crashed in the first turn moments before, Stampede officials said.

How many horses has Gary Gorst killed? Why is he still driving? —Ed.

2008 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse (Reg Johnstone) euthanized (July 10)

2009 — 3
1 chuckwagon horse (Reg Johnstone) heart attack (July 5)
1 chuckwagon horse (Barry Hodgson) euthanized (July 7)
1 chuckwagon horse (Ray Mitsuing) heart attack (July 11)

2010 — 6
6 horses in livestock, rodeo and chuckwagon events

Note: After these incidents, the Stampede introduced changes aimed at making chuckwagon races safer for horses and competitors. Yeah, right.

More than 50 members of the UK Parliament signed a motion calling “on the Canadian government to take steps to end the immense cruelty to animals” at rodeos including the Calgary Stampede.

2011 — 4
2 chuckwagon horses — 1 with catastrophic leg injury, euthanized
2 dying with no details reported

2012 — 3
3 chuckwagon horses dead, 1 injured (lead dropped, others followed-outrider horse crashed into wagon at high speed)


Protests were held Friday and Saturday by the Calgary Animal Rights Coalition who want an outright ban on rodeos. Hear, hear!

2013 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse died of pulmonary hemmorhage

2014 — 1
A chuckwagon horse belonging to Reg Johnstone collapsed and died after completing the team’s training run.

“The horse was a 12-year-old thoroughbred named Denny, which had been owned by Johnstone for approximately five years. He was acquired from another chuckwagon driver after his initial career as a racehorse in the Vancouver area. The horse had last raced about a week ago at the Ponoka Stampede,” officials said.

2015 — 4
4 chuckwagon horses

The National Post reports: An outriding horse, a 16-year-old Thoroughbred from Dave Galloway’s outfit, had to be euthanized after he ruptured a suspensory ligament in his leg during the first heat. One of Layne Bremner’s outriding horses had to be euthanized for the same injury sustained by Galloway’s horse. It’s the second time one of Bremner’s horses had to be put down this year. On July 4, one of his wagon horses fractured his cannon bone after making contact with another wagon. Last Tuesday, one of BJ Carey’s lead horses was also put down after a collision with Shane Nolan’s wagon in the second heat.

See also Cowboy kicked out of Calgary stampede for aggressive horse whipping »

2016 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse

2017 — 1

1 chuckwagon horse

2018 — 1
1 chuckwagon horse

2019— 3
3 chuckwagon horses

NOTE: There are literally thousands of animals used behind the scenes to perfect the “cowboys” rodeo skills. These figures do NOT include horses who were injured or killed in practice or training.

QUESTION: Have you noticed how many of these horses are off the track Thoroughbreds?

See also The Attitude »

17 thoughts on “Death by Numbers: Horses Killed at the Calgary Stampede — The Stats”

  1. Here’s how you do away with it – don’t outlaw the race, outlaw the death tents erected around the fallen horses. Let the crowds watch. They paid their ticket, they should witness the full experience. Their kids as well. Watch them struggle (if they are still conscious), watch big men sitting on their heads to hold them down, watch the vet do the exam and then shoot a few huge vials of the euthanasia solution, then watch the chains attached to their legs as they are flung into a removal truck. Maybe the city of Calgary can add the video to their tourism page. Ugh.


  2. The history of the chuckwagon race to my understanding was the end of the trail for the cattle drive to market. The chuck wagons (kitchens on wheels) raced to the local bar. The horses that were used at that time would have been known as cold bloods. Work horses or mules, who were bred for strengh and endurance and not speed, were in harness. This race into town would have been more or less and straight drive without corners. The chuck wagon races of today, obviously, is not the original race as livestock were held in high regard and the loss of any creature was financially felt. No good trail boss would have permitted any unnecessary risk to life or limb.
    We note that the change to entertainment takes the race into a small 5/8th mile circular race track. Thoroughbreds, bred for speed, are delicate creatures with high nervous systems and were never used in harness. Most of these are tired and older race horses who were bought cheaper due to their previous injuries from racing or lack of competitive spirit. The deaths and injuries that we witness in such a stadium set up will not stop as long as this venue continues. Like bullfighting, or gladiator games, the ignorant enjoyment of these unthinking acts marks the level of our civilization. It deserves honest debate about its presence and continuance in the 21st. century.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How two supposedly civilized societies not only permit but promote such abuse and suffering and that there are people who attend and actually enjoy this form of “entertainment” is beyond my comprehension.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How do you appeal to people with this mindset? What needs to happen for them to get the message they are supporting animal cruelty and death? I suppose they eat veal and beef and horse meat. That says it all doesn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It was on my Bucket List to go on July 4th to the Calgary Stampede, But no more !!! And I will let people know of the cruel situation there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And this year, due to the 4 deaths in the chuckwagon races last year, they appeal to the public by reassuring us about the level of animal care that goes into the chuckwagon races and rodeo events ahead of this year’s competitions. What a load of crap – isn’t that what they say every year? Just look at this picture of a calf roped in the article claiming how safe it is and how all the animals love it. Sick bunch who think animal abuse equates to entertainment and turn a blind eye to the abuses doled out to unconsenting innocent souls. The day can’t come soon enough when they are all banned.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. These stats are outrageous and even more upsetting is that many have gone from the cruelty of horse racing to this – oh these poor horses. A miserable hellish life they are most certainly suffering.

    It’s barbaric and inhumane and has no place in today’s society. There’s no excuse for animal cruelty, it is unjustifiable and indefensible and cannot be tolerated. This sickening chuckwagon racing has well and truly lost its social licence.

    Liked by 2 people

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