Winfield elementary school boy dies in horse accident while practicing rodeo skills

A 7-year-old boy who attended a Winfield elementary school died Sunday after an accident while riding a horse.

Max Henderson was at home roping a calf sled when his pony flipped over on him, his family said in a statement through Silver Creek Rodeo Company. He was stabilized at William Newton Hospital in Winfield before he was taken to Wesley Medical Center.

Doctors found “a slight bleed and some minor internal injuries” before realizing that his vena cava, which carries de-oxygenated blood back to the heart, was severed, the statement said. Max died soon after surgery.

“The way God chose to call him home is not his legacy,” parents Shane and Missi Henderson said in the statement. “Please remember him for the way he lived, not died.”

Students were asked to wear western clothes to Country View Elementary School on Monday.

“In order to show our love and support for Max, wear a western outfit if you have one tomorrow,” school officials said in a Facebook post. “Cowboy hat, boots, bandana, etc... are all acceptable, but it can be as simple as jeans and a button up shirt.”

Professionals who can help USD 465 students, parents and school staff process the death will be available at school.

“Max had the most amazing 7 years possible,” his parents said in the statement. “He said many times that he wanted to be 7 forever. I think deep down he knew he wasn’t here for a long time. We are honored to have been his parents and grateful for every second.

“We will honor his life by living out the rest of our earthly days with happiness and fun. We will miss him. Oh my, we will miss him. We will have sad days, but we will not live sad lives. Please raise us up in prayer to help us to live as Max would wish. Without fear & full of happy times and fun. I would say fly high, but he’s already there.”

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