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Posted on Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Hayrides back at Jenny's Dexter Market following accident that hurt worker

By Cindy Heflin


Burton Hoey leads a pair of Percheron draft horses as he prepares to hitch them to a pumpkin wagon in this file photo. A worker was injured in a hayride accident at the business about 2 weeks ago.

File photo

Weekend hayrides have resumed at Jenny’s Dexter Market following an accident that injured an employee nearly two weeks ago.

Market owner Burton Hoey said this week that the market started offering horse-drawn hayrides again last weekend. The market had initially suspended them after the accident.

But Hoey said the hayrides are safe; his horses are well trained and his equipment in good condition.

“Our equipment didn’t fail; the wagon didn’t fail; the horses didn’t stand there and trample somebody,” he said.

Hoey has said the Sept. 24 accident happened while the employee who was injured, a 23-year-old woman, was leading the hayride and holding tight to the reins. One of the horses tripped and lunged forward, pulling her off the wagon, he said.

Hoey said hayrides don’t go on public roads so there’s very little that can go wrong.

“There’s no car traffic or other human traffic that can interfere with them,” he said. “It’s just about impossible for anything to go wrong.”

Brittany Erskine, 20, leads hayrides at the market. She said employees are making sure the horses pulling the wagons go at a slow pace.

Erskine said she visited the injured woman, whose name has not been released by authorities, a couple of days after the accident. Erskine said she seemed to be in good spirits, though she said the woman wasn’t able to move her legs at that time.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration continues to investigate the accident, a process that will likely take several weeks, said Elaine Clapp, safety and health manager for the General Industry Safety and Health Division,

Clapp noted that there are no specific regulations for hayrides, but general workplace safety standards would apply in this case.

“There’s no agency anywhere in the country that addresses hayrides,” she said.

Hoey said he thinks that should change. “I think that for anything that involves the public there should be regulations,” he said.


Doctor Fang

Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

The hayride HAS used public roads as part of its route for years. Mr. Hooey now claims that it doesn't, which I hope is a chance resulting fromthe inspections, but it certainly did for several years and as recently as 2010. I rode this hayride with my son twice, but never will again. The last time (fall of 2010), the driver warned us before the downhill portion to hold on because someone had fallen off the ride before . The trailer had NOTHING for riders to hold -- no railing, no ropes, nothing whatsoever. The riders sit on a flat, open platform with hay sprinkled on it. Our driver sat on a bail of hay which was not secured to the platform. The horses went down the hill so fast that the dirt they kicked onto the wagon pelted our faces hard enough to sting. The lack of attention to safety issues at this establishment should be obvious to any observant parent. From the swinging bench that can remove digits from your left hand before pushing you into the pond (I've seen it twice), to the goat droppings on the picnic tables and the bridge that gets one rotting board replaced per year, the place is a minefield of dangers to kids. And as we've seen this year, to its employees.


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 6:35 p.m.

Sign #1 mysteriously taken down. No secret "video camera" in sight.


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

Just got back from Jennys. Got a gallon and a dozen donuts, and a couple very nice pumpkins cheap! Place is packed but it doesn't take long to get served. The kids were all having a great time climbing the wooden hay bale structure and many were enjoying the hayride. Everyone was enjoying the fresh cider and donuts of course and everyone was having a lot of fun!


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 6:34 p.m.

"This comment brought to you courtesy of Jenny's Farm Market".


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

Every accident that someone gets hurt in is a tragedy, some worse than others. That's life folks. All the rules, regulations, and mandates wouldn't have stopped that horse from tripping. I hope many of you that posted on here don't drive in a car or fly in an airplane; people have died in those modes of transportation. Come to think of it people die walking also............Tragic yes, but that's the way life is......


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength" - Eric Hoffer (American Writer, 1902-1983)


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

There are accidents, pure and simple, and then there are accidents secondary to negligence of one sort or another. The question in this case is what kind of an accident it was. To dismiss it as an accident because they happen and, hey, "That's life folks" is simplistic, at least.


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 2:23 p.m.

First I was not there when this happened. Am I an expert?? well I have been a horse trainer or horsewoman for most of my half century on earth...that said I know when your have to hold a team of horses tight enough to hold them "together" one or both is pretty lame or untrained to work together. ( I owned a wedding carriage business 5 years city of chicago) Now I have had horse fall, a horse stumble and one that just "ran" off. It is possiable that they did head toss things may not have been correctly harrnessed or fastened. the driver could have been untrained for this position. who knows...My guess after visiting this place twice is the animals were not correctly harnessed, lame or both. At any rate his insurance if he is insured will hassel this poor woman to the end of time ...workers comp is extreamly limited in what they do for people ...first hand experance with the state, insurance companies and wonder no statement. I have a bad feeling she is seriously hurt his dismissal if this is truely how it was said was awful and I know I will drive on by as I have done for the last 15 to 20 years...wishing the poor ponies had shelter from heat sun rain wind and snow...maybe a cool drink of water on a hot day too... not a fan of his place but it is there I just go somewhere else


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 2:53 p.m.

And, to add to Marilyn Wilkie's statement, as she had noted yesterday in response to @applehazar's comment at 3:12 PM regarding insurance coverage for this woman's injuries, "Mr. Hoey was quoted on here as saying He would cover all of her medical costs." Being the most honorable person some on this site portray him to be, I am confident Mr. Hoey will be an ardent advocate for his injured employee with any and all insurance companies involved, even covering any gaps (temporary secondary to administrative issues, or otherwise) in the insurance so her recovery may be optimized as fully and as quickly as possible.

Marilyn Wilkie

Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

Robin, thank you for giving your educated opinion on this, not just seeing the pretty little market as a place to take your kids or grandkids.


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 12:56 p.m.

I hope that the inspectors were conscientious and did not rely on verbal interviews. The people in Dexter who told me about their jobs with this guy, or the houses they bought from him, were consistent in their comments. "Don't believe a word he says".


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 7:12 p.m.

This is why you have Workers Comp insurance. The carrier MUST pay the claim - the employer continues - unless the Workers Comp company tries to subrogate the claim - then the employer needs an attorney - is trying to sensationalize this - I feel bad about the victim - BUT - if the employer has insurance - CASE CLOSED - shame on you for trying to sell newspapers over this!!!


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 2:24 a.m.

I have a feeling...a hunch...that the not all that far removed from Mr. Hoey himself...perhaps he's actually him.

Marilyn Wilkie

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

Mr. Hoey was quoted on here as saying He would cover all of her medical costs.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 6:41 p.m.

Simple conclusions I've made: I don't trust or believe what Mr. Hoey says about safety at his market. I also have never liked his attitude towards the public or towards his animals. I don't like the way the animals are treated at his market. And I still will never patronize his market and will tell everyone i know not to either. I hope they go out of business.


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 2:22 a.m.

I'm not worried. Bring it, appleman! Actually, most of the signs I see on N. Territorial are on the public easement, particularly at the corner of N. Territorial and Whitmore Lake. Believe me, I've lived in the area all my life and have never seen a "secret camera" at that corner watching for sign thiefs. LOL. Anyway, my main evidence for the mistreatment of the animals was the article some years ago that Mr. Hooey refuses to provide shelter for the elements for the ponies (leaving them out in all weather, heat, rain, snow, ice, hazardous conditions) and is backed up by the evidence, years later, that there still is no barn or shelter of any kind for the animals on the property of Jenny;s Farm Market. It may not be "illegal", but to my view (as a former horse owner), it is unethical to not provide shelter for the animals. The only barn there is...where the infamous hayride cart is parked.

Marilyn Wilkie

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

applehazar, Goofus did not "acquire" anything. Especially from the farm market. How can you support your claim that the animals are NOT abused? Do you work there?


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 7:20 p.m.

goofus - be careful - if you take signs down you could be in trouble - the signs could be considered private property - watch out for video cameras of your proposed actions


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 7:14 p.m.

you can elect not to purchase from his store - you are entitled to your opinion - but you have to understand the law and insurance law - THE ANIMALS ARE NOT MISTREATED - do you have any facts that support your acquisitions?


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

Maybe I'll help and start taking down all the cheap handwritten signs they litter public areas on N. Territorial with...


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

I pray for the young lady involved. If there is anymore Mr. Hoey can do to insure the safety of patrons and employees; I hope he does it.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 4:58 p.m.

Anytime horses are involved there is a chance for a serious incident. Just a fact of life. Love horses but they are very strong and very large.

Ann English

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.

I wonder if Hoey should have hayride patrons sign a paper agreeing that they won't hold him liable for any injuries they may get on one, that they're personally responsible for their own safety, like Gallup Park canoe & paddleboat patrons are doing.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

How is it this man's fault? Did he trip the horse? Is there no such thing as an unfortunate accident anymore? Does someone always have to be to blame? It's this attitude that has turned this country into the more litigious in the world. I'm very sorry this young woman was injured so badly. Sometimes accidents just happen and there's really no one to blame. I hope she has a full and complete recovery.


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

In my opinion, all in all, I think Marilyn Wilkie's statements on this story have been responsible and thoughtful.


Sun, Oct 9, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

Well It's a gorgeous Sunday morning. I think I'll go down to Jennys Farm Stand and get a gallon of cider and a bag of donuts. Maybe buy a couple Pumpkins too. Comon over Marilyn. Maybe you can get a bag of sour grapes.

Marilyn Wilkie

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

You said "How is it this man's fault? Did he trip the horse?" A witness said the seat broke. If that is true then his equipment was faulty. Other folks said the route was very bumpy and at one point goes down a hill. He is responsible for making sure the route is safe. Others have said on here the rides were too fast. He is charging people for this and is responsible for their and his employee's safety. If you fell in front of an icy business would you say "Oh accidents happen. It's no one's fault." In this case someone may be paralyzed for life.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.

In Ann Arbor there is always someone to blame.I'm surprised that no one has blamed Synder yet


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 4:30 p.m.

Most litigious


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

Mr Hoey is responsible for the woman injured. I hope he recognizes his long term responsibilities.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

When did they stop using Island Lake Road as part of the route? I've come upon them many times in the past using that road to access the fields just west of the stand.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

I live in Dexter, go by the stand daily, and have enjoyed going there for the food and rides for years. I don't know the owner personally, but chat once in a while. He works extremely hard all year to keep that place open and does care a lot about his farm and employees. Is he a "nice" man? Maybe, maybe not. I know some CEO's that are pretty unfriendly, yet that doesn't invalidate their business. We just don't see them out mucking in the barn in jeans and a T-shirt. I also saw all the MANY inspectors going through right after the accident and that it was allowed to stay open and even run the hayrides by the next week. Like it or not, it's his livelihood and unless he is deemed unfit to keep the place open by qualified inspectors, not by the community, he has the right to keep earning a living.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

Perhaps you SHOULD get to know him.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 1:29 p.m.

People in Dexter have always told me to watch out for that guy.

Buster W.

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 6:23 p.m.

Yep, he's definitely a piece of work. I recall him "fixing" the roof multiple times at a local Dexter business I worked at back in the 80's. It leaked, and leaked, and leaked for years...he was rude...he and his underlings would help themselves to food and beverages whenever they stopped by. I'm not at all surprised by the attitude and past incidents. "It's just about impossible for anything to go wrong." Seriously???


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 2 p.m.

Interesting that you say that. Do some research and listen to the Dexter long-timers. I'm sure some of them would be happy to share the stories.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.


Kirk Gibson

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

This guy must be from Columbus. Where else could he have learned that the best way to handle a bad situation is to bury your head in the sand and pretend it never happened. "It's just about impossible for anything to go wrong."? Something did go wrong my friend and a young lady can't move her legs because of it.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

Why isn't there any investigation into the workplace conditions at this business? And also into the care of the animals working the business? Will the woman who was injured have a full recovery? Where is the relevant information? This article is an advertisement for the business. Pathetic.

Marilyn Wilkie

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

You have hit the nail on the head. He should just hold his tongue and not worry about his income so much. This is a horrible tragedy that need not have happened. Perhaps he has changed the route now but they used to pull out onto Island Lake and head west to the top of the hill where they entered the field. My God, a young woman may be paralyzed for life. Also a person riding the wagon said that the seat broke on this very site.

Ron Granger

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

Tragic. I hope she recovers. But her medical condition is her own private affair. It isn't our business.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

I agree with Ron Granger. If she wants the community at large to know how she is doing, she will let us know. Attempts to acquire information beyond what is essentially a personal, medical condition (even "how is she doing" is a reference to either her physical status or to her mental/emotional status) cross the border from concern to nosiness. I hope she is improving and I hope she will eventually recover. I, too, am curious about her status but I am perfectly willing to live with the unknown with no wish to even approach (much less cross) the boundary that defines her personal space.

Marilyn Wilkie

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

Or, perhaps there is a lawsuit in the works.

Ron Granger

Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 4:02 p.m.

Read the story more carefully - it specifically says her name has not been released by the authorities. Do you really think the family wants phone calls from multiple news outlets? No doubt some news outlets would love to spin a story about a "poor crippled girl" to sell copy and advertising. Some of them are very pushy. Some call. Some knock. Some camp outside, waiting. If they want to talk to anyone, they'll be in touch.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

If the reporter had asked her family how she was and they said "no comment", I'd agree. I see nothing that says that reporters even asked her family how she was. I think most of us are praying/cheering for her. I see nothing wrong with caring and concern, shown with a simple "How is she doing?" No details needed.


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

"It's just about impossible for anything to go wrong." Wow. I wonder if the lady in the hospital agrees?


Sat, Oct 8, 2011 : 10:26 a.m.

"Erskine said she visited the injured woman, whose name has not been released by authorities, a couple of days after the accident. Erskine said she seemed to be in good spirits, though she said the woman wasn't able to move her legs at that time." Horrible. I think most of us are really concerned about the condition of the young lady who was injured at this place. Is she completely recovered? The original report here in September said she was seriously injured. While the business side of this may be interesting to some, I think our community cares a lot more about the young lady. So, how is she?

Cindy Heflin

Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.

Cash: In reporting this article and others, I did try to contact the young woman's family and check on her condition at the hospital. The family asked for information not to be released. I also put my contact information out through several avenues asking the family to contact me.


Mon, Oct 10, 2011 : 2:13 a.m.

I wish I could vote 100 x for your comment. I don't care about "Jenny's" I care that a person in our community is cared for.