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Horse rescued after bolting and swimming two miles offshore

May 17, 2012 |  8:28 am

Horse in ocean

A horse being used in a beach photo shoot in Santa Barbara County got spooked and ran into the water, swimming more than two miles offshore before being rescued.

The 7-year-old white Arabian named William bolted and ran into the ocean in Summerland on Tuesday about 6:30 p.m., said Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Officer Ryan Kelly.

"The initial call came in as a missing horse," Kelly said, according to CNN.

Rescue crews from the Carpenteria Fire Department and state lifeguards searched for the horse, and a helicopter was launched by the county search and rescue team.

The horse was spotted more than two miles offshore in the Santa Barbara Channel, swimming toward oil rigs, according to an incident report.

"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. Photos and video of the rescue show Kelly and others placing a tow line under the horse's saddle and securing it to the boat.

"It took about 2½ hours to escort the horse back to dry land and into the hands of a vet," Kelly said. The horse was taken to an animal clinic in the area and returned to its owner.


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-- From a Times staff writer

Photo: Horse rescued off the coast of Santa Barbara County. Credit: KTLA-TV.