Before the opening kickoff, Keystone, the horse Aggies mascot Pistol Pete rides around the field, did some running over of his own, clipping NMSU student Zaina Atyani in the north end zone, sending the student sports marketing employee to the turf.
She handled the collision like a champ, tweeting, “Just got knocked out by a horse. No big deal.”
Just got knocked out by a horse. No big deal.
— Zaina Atyani (@ZainaAtyani) August 29, 2014
Atyani was helping coordinate pregame activities on the new artificial turf at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Typically Keystone makes his entrance from the north end zone, where Atyani was standing — until the horse came rushing by and clipped her. Although it turned out to be unofficial, and unintentional, Atyani became the first NMSU student to be dropped on the Aggies’ new turf.
“She’s perfectly fine,” said Eddie Morelos, assistant director of media relations for NMSU athletics.
There’s one more interesting twist. Keystone has special shoes to wear on the new artificial turf, according to school officials.
Morelos said he couldn’t be certain, but Keystone could have possibly “slipped” on the turf as he began his gallop, just as any player could have during the game, which the Aggies won, 28-10.
Here is video of the collision that was posted on YouTube: