SARASOTA -- A horse that was in a Modern Pentathlon practice area at Nathan Benderson Park Tuesday was spooked by high winds and charged into a spectators' area.
High winds frightened the animal, which threw its rider, bucked and reared, and landed on a walkway near where bleachers held spectators.
Officials shooed onlookers away as the riderless horse bucked with its saddle hanging upside down beneath its belly.
The horse fell on the slick pedestrian walkway, got back up, turned away from the crowd and ran back to the barn.
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Neither the horse nor the rider suffered injury, officials said later.
The area was being used for a practice session in advance of the opening of the 2015 Modern Pentathlon World Cup No. 1.
Opening ceremonies were set for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota.
From 200-230 athletes are expected to compete in the event at Benderson Park, according to Katherine Harris, chair of the Sarasota Bradenton Modern Pentathlon Organizing Committee.
She welcomed Klaus Schormann, president of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne, and member of the International Olympic Committee Commission for Culture, during a press conference Tuesday at the park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle.
The World Cup No. 1 event lasts through Sunday.
A pentathlon includes fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping and combined shooting with a laser pistol/run.
Sara Kennedy, University Parkway reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter@sarawrites.