A Colorado Springs man was arrested in Boulder on Monday during what he said was a 600-mile horseback ride to Bryce, Utah, for his brother's wedding.
According to University of Colorado police, Patrick Neal Schumacher, 45, was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, prohibited weapons use, riding a horse while under the influence of alcohol and reckless endangerment.
Police received calls about 2:14 p.m. Monday that a man was hitting his horse hard enough to cause it to rear up, and that he was riding it onto a busy road, Broadway, and impeding traffic. When officers arrived on the scene, they say they found Schumacher slumped atop his horse, Dillon riding across streets and forcing pedestrians from the sidewalk.
When officers asked him to dismount, they say, Schumacher had trouble speaking, and he then failed roadside intoxication tests. He told police that he wasn't beating his horse, but instead trying to swat a fly off its head. Police found a pug dog, Bufford, in his backpack and a small black powder pistol and beer cans in his saddlebag.
"This is probably the first time in our department's history we've issued a ticket for somebody riding under the influence on a horse," said police spokesman Ryan Huff, who pointed out that riding under the influence is just a traffic infraction, unlike a DUI.
Schumacher told police he had lost his driver's license and was riding Dillon from Larkspur, Colo., to the wedding in Bryce which would be a 600-mile journey by car. He bonded out from jail Monday night and reunited with his animals.
"He says he's back en route to Bryce," Huff said. He is scheduled to return for filing of formal charges on Oct. 31, said the Boulder District Attorney's Office.
"He's the only way I got to get out there," Schumacher told Boulder's Daily Camera, adding that he was not drunk and has previously taken Dillon on other long journeys, once from Utah to South Dakota. "My brother said he might wait for me, but I told him if I don't make it, just go without me."
The animals were kept overnight at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, which said they were in good condition.