|Photo Courtesy Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol|
The seven-year-old grey Arabian named William apparently became spooked by the sound of the crashing surf on a beach in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. For some reason, he decided to run toward the sound of the pounding waves against the sand and went into the ocean.
Undeterred, he continued swimming out to sea, until he was three miles out! Meanwhile, on dry land, the horse's owner, film producer Mindy Peters, had called out the Calvary to save her beloved horse. A team of four from the Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol, Carpenteria-Summerland Fire Water Rescue, and California State Parks set out to find the suddenly nautical horse.
The group of rescuers made their way out to sea to find the Arabian, just as the sun began to set. Looking for William was like finding a needle in a haystack, but after a half hour, they saw him, struggling against the current and exhausted. He was startled to see the rescue boats, but didn't put up a fight when his rescuers created a makeshift harness to slip under his saddle and tie to the side of the rescue boat to keep him buoyant in order to pull him back to shore, which took a grueling two hours.
So far, William doesn't seem any worse for wear after his marathon swimming session in the Pacific. Owner Mindy Peters says her horse had never been swimming before in his life, and she hopes he won't be anxious to hit the surf again!