A white Arabian horse was rescued by Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol crews and water-rescue personnel from the Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District on Tuesday after swimming about 2.5 miles out to sea from Summerland Beach.
The horse, named William, was in the middle of a photo shoot when he was spooked by the sound of waves during high tide and threw off his rider before plunging into 58-degree water. Rescuers received the first report of the incident at 6:40 p.m. and were able to bring William back to shore by 8:30 p.m. with additional help from County Search and Rescue, State Beach lifeguards and the Animal Rescue Team.
Rescue crews saved the animal by removing his saddle, replacing it with a flotation device and fastening him to the side of their boat. A crew member physically elevated William’s head above the water as the boat returned to shore at the speed of under two miles per hour. Lifeguards proceeded to secure William’s reigns on paddle boards and haul him up the beach.
Upon his rescue, the horse was tended by a waiting vet and sent to Alamo Pintado Equine Center in Los Olivos for rubdown and hot tub treatments. William is currently recovering with Santa Ynez-based breeder Mindy Peters and her daughter, who own the seven-year-old show horse.
In light of the incident, Peters plans to create a Facebook page about the Arabian titled “William the Wonder Horse.”