Drunk Horse Rider Is Back in the Saddle

A day after being arrested for riding while intoxicated through the streets of Boulder, Colorado, Patrick Schumacher is wondering what all the fuss was about

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Mitchell Byars / Daily Camera / AP

Boulder police look after a horse after its rider was arrested on four charges, including suspicion of riding under the influence and animal cruelty, Sep. 9, 2013, in Boulder, Colo.

A Colorado man was determined to get to his brother’s wedding in Bryce, Utah. However he had lost his license and couldn’t drive the 600 or so miles to the event. He decided the next best option was to saddle up his horse, Dillon, stick his pug, Buford, in a backpack and hit the open road.

Boulder, Colorado residents began making calls to the University of Colorado police around 2 p.m. Monday to report that a man was riding his horse into traffic and onto the sidewalks, appeared to be intoxicated, and was disturbingly striking the horse hard enough to make it rear up on its hind legs. Police pulled the man — later identified as Patrick Neal Schumacher — over for a sobriety test, which he failed. After a search of his horse, officers found a saddlebag loaded with beer and a small black powder pistol.

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Despite Schumacher’s explanation that he was just trying to hit a fly on the horse’s head, he was arrested on suspicion of charges of animal cruelty, reckless endangerment and prohibited use of weapons, as well as riding a horse while under the influence of alcohol, a traffic law violation. His animals were impounded and he was sent to the Boulder County Jail on Monday night.

By Tuesday, Schumacher was out and reunited with his horse and his dog and wondering what all the fuss was about. “I didn’t understand why they swooped in,” he told Boulder’s Daily Camera newspaper, explaining that he had consumed two or three beers before police found him on Monday, but claims he was not drunk. He also noted that he had made trips with Dillon before, once riding horseback from Utah to South Dakota. “I got me a good horse,” he said. “I can get anywhere I need to go.”

Schumacher is due back in court in Boulder on Oct. 31 to be charged in the case. Officials from the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office told the Daily Camera that they had never prosecuted a “riding under the influence” case before.

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