Horse and rider were uninjured.
Florida State University has long been known for its totally-epic mounted mascot for home football games, Chief Osceola and Renegade the Appaloosa. Among the multitude of unique and inspiring mounted mascots all across the nation’s colleges and universities, Renegade has set himself apart from the herd for his personal brand of bad-@$$ery — this horse and his well-trained rider regularly charge full-on into a packed stadium of 80,000-plus screaming fans all chanting in unison (turn up your volume for the full effect):
And if that’s not epic enough, Renegade and Chief Osceola then gallop to the center of the field where Renegade rears on command as Chief Osceola PLANTS A FLAMING SPEAR IN THE TURF. Oh yeah, we forgot to mention that this guy is carrying live fire this whole time. (Fast forward this video to 3:25 to experience the spear-planting along with more unison-chanting, or watch the entire video if you want to see what kind of high-stress shenanigans Renegade tolerates.)
Like, already I’m thinking that this horse deserves some sort of prize for not only being very well trained but incredibly tolerant of what is quite possibly the least horse-friendly environment I’ve ever seen via video. (I had the honor of serving as my alma mater’s mounted mascot for a season in our relatively poky little Division III stadium and that was quite enough adrenaline with maybe a thousand people in attendance — a mere fraction of an FSU home game!)
So that said, I feel pretty bad for poor Renegade — on Friday night for the Orange Bowl, held not at FSU’s home field but at Hard Rock Stadium, the iconic Appaloosa appears to have perhaps spooked badly or been otherwise upset, backed rapidly away from the center of the field and then lost his balance and fell, dropping Chief Osceola who somehow managed to not set himself or his mount on fire during the process.
Osceola, like a true showman, proceeded to plant the spear on foot and ground crew caught Renegade within about half a second (seriously, I need these people to help me catch my loose horse when I fall off).
Social media, of course, captured the moment:
Never seen this happen before…Let’s hope the offense executes better pic.twitter.com/1JQTP8MFMt
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) December 31, 2016
Now, it’s easy for all of us to sit at our computers like armchair jockeys and pass judgment on the horse, the rider, the environment or whatever and describe in great detail how we would have ridden better, not gotten into the situation in the first place or somehow saved the day completely even though essentially none of us have ever been in that situation before a hundred thousand fans or so… but really, all that’s important in this situation is that despite the mishap, Renegade is reported to be just fine. Horses are horses, and accidents certainly happen, and fortunately here all is well that ends well.
We can confirm Renegade was not injured before the game.
Thank you for your concern and kind words! pic.twitter.com/mH5yKlP0uY
— FSU Football (@FSU_Football) December 31, 2016
Renegade, buddy, we’ve all had bad days where all we’ve wanted to do is back out of the situation. We feel you, and we hope your 2017 goes a little smoother.