Last year's horse racing at the Carlton County Fair was an event to remember.

It claims to be the only county fair in the state to still offer horse racing, and it attracts racers from all over Minnesota and neighboring states. As a result, the Fair has gained a lot of exposure, and last year's event gained even more attention when Grace Bartz, 13, of Barnum, was in a horse racing accident.

Immediately after finishing her first-ever horse race, Bartz's horse, Beans, was spooked by a loud noise and jumped toward a nearby fence. Bartz was thrown off-balance and reached her arm out to catch herself, but fell short and dropped 8 feet, landing hard and cutting a major artery in her arm.

"The first thing I noticed was that someone took Beans out of my sight. All I was thinking about was if she was OK," Bartz said.

Bartz, now 14, emphasized it was a fluke accident and that it was not her horse's fault. She and her horse have a great connection; Bartz did not hesitate to get back on the saddle when her doctors gave approval for her to ride again.

"Once I heard it was all right to ride again, Beans and I were back at it in no time," she said.

Bartz had a successful surgery and started physical therapy soon after. She claims her doctors do not know exactly how long it will take for her to fully heal. She said her physical therapy helps a lot and that she is just glad to be back riding again.

"I would like to thank all who sent up thoughts and prayers this past year," she said. "I am blessed to have the love and support of so many wonderful people."

Now that Bartz and her horse are back in action, she said one of her goals is to compete in a barrel-racing event in the near future. In barrel racing, a horse and rider attempt to complete a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time.

This is Bartz's seventh year riding horses, but she explained she has been around horses her whole life.

"I grew up watching my mom and grandpa ride," she said. "They are the ones who showed me the love and excitement that comes with horseback riding."