Madonna was to blame for the horse-riding accident that left her with a broken hand, a broken collar bone and three cracked ribs - because she uses horses as fashion accessories, according to author CAMILLE PAGLIA.

The social critic claims she predicted the accident after she saw Madonna's Vogue magazine covershoot last month (Aug05), which showed her on the back of her horse, because she was "ostentatiously posing in riding habit and boots on a horse whose reins she is awkwardly and incorrectly holding".

She adds, "We are told she has been throwing herself into country pursuits to please her macho husband Guy Ritchie. As a professionally trained dancer, tireless jogger and practitioner of extreme yoga, Madonna is an accomplished athlete. But riding is not just another routine challenge she can master through sheer willpower.

"Along with physical skills, riding requires relaxation and self-subordination, an intuitive opening to the horse. Knowledge of horses needs to be accumulated by riders over a lifetime.

"She will surely persist and may well triumph as a rider. But until then, let's hope she avoids the facile, disrespectful use of horses as props and fashion statements."