Over the weekend we had a bit of interesting news in the Valley of the Sun. A group of four riders went out and during their ride they ran into a problem. A rather large problem. They left their common sense behind.
We have had quite a bit of rain over the past couple of months. 13" so far this year is what has been reported. We live in a desert and sometimes the storms are referred to as a "gully washer", because the washes, gullies and otherwise small streams fill up washing everything away. The Salt River is flowing and the current can be strong in places.
So these people set out and at some point in their ride thought crossing the water was a good idea. Now I am all for a horse crossing water and quietly going where you ask them to go. But for the horses sake- use your head! They underestimated the current, one of the horses is now still 'stuck on the island' and one of the horses broke a leg and had to be shot on site by an officer.
It's a sad story that could have been prevented all the way around, had these people made a simple decision and chosen a different route. Really not a tough thing to do.
In Arizona we also have what is called the "Stupid Motorist Law" which in affect, leaves the motorist to pay for their rescue should they decide to try crossing the water in a gulch, gully, wash or roadway otherwise covered with water. If the roadway is blocked with a pylon or barrier- you are plain busted. You pay for any and all resources involved in pulling you out. You pay the wages of any officers, firefighters, EMT's or specialty rescue crews involved- however many hours it takes to get everyone out. You pay for the trucks, boats, heavy equipment, a helicopter and pilot if necessary... It can add up fast.
Another aspect of this is that your insurance company can deny the claim, drop your policy and you are SOL ($h!t out of luck) to pay for not only the rescue operation, but a vehicle that is now a total loss with a 'salvage' title and off to the wrecking yard due to water damage. If you haven't paid it off- you still owe the bank. If you have kids in the car, you face charges of child endangerment on top of it all.
The one local news station abc15 has been covering the story and in this article they are asking if the riders should be charged for paying for their rescue. It was at Yes- 73.2% / No- 26.8% when I voted. I am wondering if they also face animal cruelty charges on top of it as well? The horses didn't choose the trail.
The owners are also now desperately wanting to get hay out to the horse. In the last photo of the slide show you will see about a half bale of alfalfa sitting on the ground, ready to go out to the horse. They have tried taking it out by boat. To me this translates into putting more people at risk and possibly another rescue mission in the making...
The horse has been there since Friday. Dumping a half bale out there he will likely dive into and consume it all and could resultingly colic. Are they going to get a vet to the island if he does? Could the current turn that into another rescue mission too?
I want what is best for the horse. I understand it is one they raised from birth, but had they cared so much about it- this whole situation never would have come up in the first place. The people? They all got out with no injuries. Maybe I am being a bit harsh. I can handle that. But where does their accountability and responsibility lay?
Our horses are not in that situation. They won't be, either. Not if I can help it. don't know if they asked for any of the media attention, but they don't seem to be turning it away either. I don't need my 15 minutes of fame that badly. I will go without if it ever meant the life of one of my horses and possibly another.
*Just to add to the story a bit- more on the story or maybe it should be MORON in the story- "My wife lost everything she owned... her boots her sunglasses..."
So much for sympathy about losing the HORSE!