Lifestyle & Belief

Horse rescued after swimming 2 miles out to sea in California


Mark Stengle, from Jamul, California walks his horse along the beach.


Sandy Huffaker

A horse has been rescued two miles out to sea after spooking during a photo shoot on a Santa Barbara beach.

The 7-year-old white Arabian named William — and also "Air of Temptation" — bolted from the beach in Summerland, according to CNN.

"The initial call came in as a missing horse," CNN quoted Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol Officer Ryan Kelly as saying.

Several more calls followed about a horse swimming out to sea.

Harbor Patrol and the Santa Barbara Coast Guard located the horse in the Santa Barbara Channel, swimming toward oil rigs, according to an incident report.

Some men on a rig had spotted William and alerted authorities, according to the Huffington Post.

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"It was a real needle-in-a-haystack kind of find,” Harbor Patrol Officer Ryan Kelly told “He looked like every other bird that was just sitting on the water," a reference to the white horse's nose and face above the water.

Rescuers made a makeshift harness, tying William to the side of the rescue boat to keep him buoyant.

The return took two hours, with the boat moving at about a mile an hour.

"Some of the grunts and noises he was making along the way — we weren’t sure how he was doing," Kelly said. "We weren’t sure if he had other problems. He was making noise, thrashing around and other times he’d be completely still."

William's owner Mindy Peters told the HuffPost: "Horses can swim, but not well. And he's never been swimming before in his life." 

William's entire swim reportedly lasted around three hours.