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2018 rendering of Atwater Bridge

ATWATER VILLAGE—A long-awaited bridge spanning the Los Angeles River that was built to accommodate equestrians was closed before its grand opening celebration when a horse had to be euthanized following an accident Jan. 17 on the new structure.

According to published reports, the horse died after galloping or sliding off the bridge’s eastern entrance and into a concrete wall, according to some accounts. The deadly incident has prompted some area equestrians to call for additional safety measures before the North Atwater Multi-Modal Bridge reopens to horses.

Witnesses said two horses were being led across the bridge when they spooked and bolted from their handler. One horse turned right at the end of the bridge and onto a path leading to the stables. The other horse ran or slipped off the bridge, colliding with a low concrete wall where it flipped over and fell a few feet onto a passageway, sources said. The horse, reportedly a Pinto gelding, was euthanized after breaking both front legs, according to witness accounts.

The long-awaited bridge had been eagerly anticipated by local horsepeople.

“All the equestrians were excited because it seemed in theory to provide us better access to the park and if it was raining, we still get across the river,” said Lisa Winkler of the Atwater Equestrian District.

The equestrian section of the bridge remains closed pending investigation, said officials, who added there is no timeline for a reopening.

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