Race horses are trained to run -- though their high energy sometimes translates into skittishness.
As a horse broke free from his handler in the walking ring on Saturday at Santa Anita Race Track in California, it bolted straight for the gate. Ninety-year-old paddock guard John Shear noticed a girl was leaning over the fence in the horse's path. Shear rushed to put himself between the 9-year-old girl and the animal, which didn't slow down.
"The horse came full speed and the horse's shoulder hit John's head," witness Aaron Hesz told Rita Garcia of CBS2/KCAL9.
Shear suffered several fractures, including one in his pelvis, Shear's son told a Daily Racing Forum reporter. But the day after the accident, his son says, "he was sitting upright, talking, laughing, and completely coherent ... and stable."
Shear, a former jockey himself, has been working at the racetrack as a paddock guard for almost 50 years.