As It Happens

Ontario man saves child then gets trampled by stampeding horses

When Calvin Stein saw horses bounding towards a toddler at an Ontario fair, he knew what he had to do: throw the child out of the way. That's when Stein was trampled himself.
Calvin Stein's injuries being treated on Saturday / Horse pull at Tweed Fair, 2007 (Calvin Stein / Twitter)
Listen6:18

Calvin Stein has been to plenty of horse-pulling competitions in his time. But the one at a local fair in Tweed, Ontario was very different.

On Saturday, a number of horses broke loose. Stein, 51, of Madoc, had to act fast. The horses were headed straight for a three-year-old girl. He says he was forced to throw the girl out of harm's way. In the end, he was the one trampled by the stampede.

Stein is recovering from a broken nose and a broken eye-socket. He says it's possible he could lose sight in one eye. The young girl he saved is also recuperating after being treated for minor cuts and bruises.

Stein tells As It Happens guest host Susan Bonner how it all went down.

CALVIN STEIN: My first objective was basically to try and catch them ... just get them contained, that was my only concern at the start.

SUSAN BONNER: Where were the horses headed?

CS: They left the ring and they ran into a vehicle. Then they turned and basically came down the track running flat-out. So at that point I was sort of running towards them to try to catch them. I sort of see this family standing there. And when I seen the family my focus changed — I headed for the children.

SB: Now there was one child in particular that you were quite concerned about. Why was that?

CS: There was the one child standing next to her father and holding his hand. And as I was running I was screaming for them to look out. And then the one poor little child was just mesmerized by everything. And I sort of took an extra interest in her.

SB: How long did you have to think?

CS:  Not very long. It all happened very quick. I basically just ran and I swooped the child up. And I knew there was split seconds. I could hear them, I could feel their breath. And I just tossed the child. And, believe it or not, I was able to pick a spot. I tossed her between a vehicle and a trailer, to safety. That was my only option. I figured the outcome of the toss and the roll would be a lot better than what it could've been.

Calvin Stein still recovering (Calvin Stein)

SB: So where did that leave you?

CS: Right in the line of the horses. As she left my hands, the horses were on top of me.

SB: Can you describe what that was like?

CS: I keep telling everybody if that's what death feels like, it was kind of awful.  I felt the impact. No pain. My whole body went warm. And then I did a complete somersault, and I landed face first on the ground. I just laid there. I knew not to move. The wind was knocked out of me, I couldn't breathe. And I thought, well, if this is the way she's gonna end, this is the way it's gonna end.

PS: Do you think you'll be out horse pulling again?

CS: Oh, for sure. We have a couple events this weekend I'd like to attend. But, I know I just can't go. In a couple of weeks I'll be back in the ring. 

For more on the story, take a listen to our full interview with Calvin Stein. 

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