William, the 7-year old Arabian horse has been rescued after getting spooked from the sound of a breaking surf and running into the ocean.
William was at a photo shoot as a model for group of photographers learning to photo shoot animals and around 6:15 p.m he bolted from the beach in Summerland, just south of Santa Barbara and ran into the ocean.
Ryan Kelly, a Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Officer, told MSNBC.com, “It was a real needle-in-a-haystack kind of find. He looked like every other bird that was just sitting on the water.”
A search and rescue was launched and involved State Park lifeguards, officials from the nearby Carpenteria Fire Department, a helicopter unit from the Santa Barbara County search and rescue team. The crew finally spotted the Arabian horse more than two miles in the Santa Barbara Channel, swimming toward oil rigs.
“Firefighters were able to hook the animal’s reins with a boat hook and bring it alongside a paddleboat,” the report said. Floats were put under its neck to help keep its head above water.
“We had to brainstorm,” Ryan Kelly says. “He showed definite signs of fatigue. His head kept dipping into the water.”
William was finally safe on the shore at around 8:30 p.m. “It took about two-and-a-half hours to escort the horse back to dry land and into the hands of a vet,” Kelly said.
Mindy Peters, a horse-breeder whose family has owned William (official name “Air of Temptation”) since February said, “He’s never been swimming before in his life. We were scared to death that we were going to lose him, that he was going to drown, he’s absolutely part of our family.”
William is recovering at the Alamo Pintado Equine Hospital in Los Olivos, California and is expected to return home in two to three days.
Horse Rescued After Bolting Into Santa Barbara Channel