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Stampede hand, horses hurt during attempted theft of truck, horse trailer

BLACK DIAMOND, Alta. - World champion steer wrestler Lee Graves and three of his horses were injured when his truck and trailer were stolen south of Calgary.

Mounties say they got a report that a truck and trailer with three horses inside had been stolen outside a hotel in Black Diamond early Wednesday evening.

Graves, concerned for his animals, searched the town and found his outfit being driven down a street.

He jumped on the running board of the truck and tried to reason with the driver, but the driver sped off, hitting a barrier and throwing Graves off.

Police found the truck and trailer abandoned a short time later in Turner Valley, and horses, named Dave, HYTY and Snap, were distraught, with cuts and bruises.

Joshua Lemire, who is 23, of Turner Valley, is facing several charges including endangering animals and criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Lemire is in custody and is set to appear in court in Turner Valley on Tuesday.

Graves will continue to work as a hand at the Calgary Stampede despite his injuries. He and his horses are not competing in the Stampede.

Police say it was "sheer luck" that no one was seriously injured or killed.

"It's his livelihood that's been affected and ultimately it could have been his life," said Cpl. Terry Hamelin with Turner Valley RCMP.

Hamelin said the horses were being knocked around pretty good during the ride.

"The trailer is even dented in spots where the horses were slamming into the walls, the trailer's dented out," he said.

"Someone had called in and said, we see this truck and trailer driving and he keeps hitting his brakes and all we hear is thumps and thuds and it sounds like there's equipment in there getting knocked around but it was actually these poor horses that were being knocked around."

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