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Subject: Archive: On May 27, 1995, actor Christopher Reeve was horse riding when he was thrown from the horse


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He was paralyzed for the remainder of his life.
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Date Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 01:36:25pm

Reeve began his involvement in horse riding in 1985 after learning to ride for the film Anna Karenina. He was initially allergic to horses, so he took antihistamines. He trained on Martha's Vineyard, and by 1989, he began eventing. His allergies soon disappeared.

He had suffered leg injuries as a teen while skiing, and he later broke three ribs in a riding accident he described, along with the leg injuries, on The Tonight Show in March 1987.

Reeve purchased a 12-year-old American thoroughbred horse named Eastern Express, nicknamed "Buck" while filming Village of the Damned. He trained with Buck in 1994 and planned to do Training Level events in 1995 and move up to Preliminary in 1996. Though Reeve had originally signed up to compete at an event in Vermont, his coach invited him to go to the Commonwealth Dressage and Combined Training Association finals at the Commonwealth Park equestrian center in Culpeper, Virginia. Reeve finished in fourth place out of 27 in the dressage, before walking his cross-country course. He was concerned about jumps 16 and 17 but paid little attention to the third jump, which was a routine three-foot-three fence shaped like the letter 'W'.

On May 27, 1995, Reeve's horse made a refusal. Witnesses said that the horse began the third fence jump and suddenly stopped. Reeve fell forward off the horse, holding on to the reins. His hands somehow became tangled in the reins, and the bridle and bit were pulled off the horse. He landed head first on the far side of the fence, shattering his first and second vertebrae. This cervical spinal injury, which paralyzed him from the neck down,[62] also halted his breathing. Paramedics arrived three minutes later and immediately took measures to get air into his lungs. He was taken first to the local hospital, before being flown by helicopter to the University of Virginia Medical Center.
Afterwards, he had no recollection of the accident.

Because of Reeve's injury, Armand Assante replaced him for the role of Alan Breck Stewart in Kidnapped.

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