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Experienced equestrian fighting for life after freak accident

An internationally renowned equestrian has sustained serious head injuries while trying to save another rider’s horses. Janina Kletke had moved her own horses to protect them from raging bush fires in Australia and had offered to help others whose animals needed to be relocated because they were in danger.

Called in the early hours

Janina received a call in the early hours of March 4th asking for her help. 4 horses needed rescuing and she was happy to help a stranger in their hour of need. The horses in trouble were located in a burnt-out property in northern Victoria and their owner had responded to a Facebook post in which Janina had offered to help relocate horses impacted by the bush fires.

Freak accident loading horses

Escorted by the Country Fire Authority, Janina attended the property and was loading the horses into a trailer when disaster struck. She was found unconscious next to the trailer. Her close friend, Shaun Dillon, believes she must have fallen off the ramp and either hit her head in the process or been kicked by a horse. The incident occurred as she was loading the fourth and final horse into the trailer.

Backpacker dies trying to save a horse from the fire

The accident follows the recent death of a British backpacker who was killed when trying to save a horse from the fires. Thomas Butcher, 31, was killed when the bush fire overran the group he was working with as they fled with a horse loaded into a float. This was attached to the back of their vehicle. The float overturned, stalling their escape and the fire overtook them.

Dressage rider with a special talent

Janina Kletke, aged 34, is a dressage rider and is said to have incredible talent for dealing with both humans and animals. Her skills include a wonderful ability to communicate with horses. But she is now in an induced coma and fighting for her life in an intensive care unit. She is a German national who has lent her considerable knowledge and expertise to .

The equestrian community is rallying round to support her, thankful for everything she has done for the sport in Australia. Their support has included a campaign to raise funds for Janina’s care.
The highly respected rider faces a long road to recovery, should she ultimately survive her injuries.

A page established to help her raised $10,000 in less than 24 hours. The money and any further donations will be used to keep her farm operating while she is hospital and will also ensure that she receives the best possible medical treatment.

Accidents can strike at any time

Even the most accomplished equestrians remain vulnerable around horses and equipment, especially when working after dark. It is all too easy to slip, trip or fall and so it is vital that all riders ensure that someone knows where they are going and when they should be returning.


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