Case of the Year 2009

Issue: Are people crazy?
Rule of Law: yes. at least in Arizona.

Here are the facts of the case equine practitioners considered the silliest of the year.

One morning in September 2007, Coates was jogging on the side of a private dirt road in Elgin when he saw his neighbor, S., riding his horse towards him on the same side of the road. Neither man yielded to the other and Coates “r[an] into the face of [S.'s] horse.” S. then turned his horse towards Coates in an attempt to calm it, at which point Coates began shouting at S. and shoving the horse's head and neck. Afraid his horse would become “spooked” and cause an accident, S. swung the reins at Coates, striking him twice on the shoulder, and yelled at him, warning him not to “try to spook [his] horse again.” S. began to ride away and Coates ran alongside S. shouting at him and taking pictures on his cellular telephone.

Coates testified he was familiar with horses and their behavior, having been around them most of his life, and he knew horses could become “spooked” and throw their riders if disturbed. Other evidence showed that, despite this knowledge, he persisted in shouting and shoving S.'s horse's face and neck.

Fortunately, the horse rider prevailed- not on a "who had the right of way" issue, but on the jogger's "disorderly conduct" after they collided.