A prized Arabian show horse at a photo shoot in Southern California suddenly got frightened by noise and fled into the ocean. The horse swam 3 miles iinto the ocean before it was rescued.
CNN reports the 7-year-old white Arabian horse named William, whose official name is "Air of Temptation," ran into the water about 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday from a beach in Summerland, south of Santa Barbara. ABC News reports the horse was frightened by the sound of breaking surf at high tide.
CNN reports that Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Officer Ryan Kelly, said the police was first informed that there was a horse missing and then later that a horse was swimming miles out to sea.
According to CNN, rescue personnel from Carpenteria Fire Department, with state lifeguards, went out to sea to search for the horse. A helicopter joined the search from Santa Barbara County's search and rescue team.
The horse was finally spotted swimming toward an oil rig two miles offshore in the Santa Barbara Channel, CNN reports. According to MSNBC, Kelly said while the search team was worrying about approaching sun set, they saw a nose and part of a face peeking above water. Kelly remarked: “It was a real needle-in-a-haystack kind of find. He looked like every other bird that was just sitting on the water.”
The horse, drifting out to sea, was exhausted.
According to ABC News, Kelly said: “We had to brainstorm. He showed definite signs of fatigue. His head kept dipping into the water.”
According to CNN, a report said: "Firefighters were able to hook the animal's reins with a boat hook and bring it alongside a paddleboat." Floats were put under the horse's neck to help keep its head above water. The animal was secured to the boat with a tow line placed under its saddle while patrol officers took turns holding the horse's head up.
MSNBC also described the rescue: "They corralled the horse and used boathook to grab his reins. They made a makeshift harness to slip under his saddle and tie to the side of the rescue boat. They wanted to keep him buoyant so he wouldn’t sink and drown from exhaustion."
It took about two-and-a-half hours to escort the horse back to dry land.
MSNBC reports Kelly described the return journey: “Some of the grunts and noises he was making along the way, we weren’t sure how he was doing. We weren’t sure if he had other problems. He was making noise, thrashing around and other times he’d be completely still.”
The horse was taken to an animal clinic after the rescue before it was released back to its owner. The owner of the stallion is Mindy Peters, a movie producer. The astonished owner said her horse had never learned to swim.
According to The Huffington Post, Peters said: "Horses can swim, but not well." She said she was driving when she learned that her horse, worth about $150,000, had bolted into the surf. When she got a call that the horse was no longer visible from shore she broke down crying. "I had to pull over in my car. I just started bawling."
The Huffiington Post reports Peters is a third-generation horse breeder.