Salt River Project workers rescue Arizona Canal horse
Salt River Project employee Kristen Keim said she was removing moss from the waterway on the morning of July 9 on land owned by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community when she saw a horse standing waist deep in the Arizona Channel.
“The horse was near one of our equipment ramps and didn’t seem distressed and was even blowing bubbles with his nose,” Keim said. “It was a very hot morning, and I didn’t mind being in the water as we often see the wild horses in the area entering the canal to cool off.”
Keim said she left the area to inspect another section of the canal. When she returned around noon to remove more foam, she noticed the horse was in the same spot, facing the same direction, although this time it was submerged deeper than before.
“I hadn’t realized earlier that morning that he was kneeling on all fours. I started to worry that he was injured, stuck in mud or couldn’t get his feet because the foam can be slippery,” Keim said. .
Keim said she was determined to get the horse out of the water. With temperatures approaching 110 degrees, she contacted the SRP Association dispatch center to alert crews to the situation as she approached the horse.
After she felt that the horse was not afraid of her, she said that she started to spin the horse, but was unable to get the horse up the ramp.
Keim said she then called her colleague Chris Crosland to help save the horse.
“I grabbed a rope from my truck and tied a big loop at the end. I was able to lasso it and pull it a few feet up the ramp,” Keim said. “I teamed up with Chris, using the rope and pole to carefully pull the horse up and help move his legs up the ramp.”
According to Keim, the horse finally gained a footing and was able to climb the ramp safely. After crossing the canal road, the horse took to the shade and ate brush.
Keim said she saw the horse disappear into the trees.
“I had to do everything in my power to make sure he was okay. It was a great reminder to always be aware of your surroundings, you never know what might happen,” Keim said. .
SRP Channel Security Tips
- Do not enter the water of the canal under any circumstances.
- Swimming, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing and sliding in the canals are prohibited.
- Supervise children closely and be sure to teach them channel safety.
- Motorized vehicles are not permitted on the canal banks unless you are authorized by SRP.
- Stay away from automated equipment at water dispensing gates.
- Call 911 for assistance if a person, pet or object falls into canal water.
Late-breaking reporter Jodicee Arianna at Jodicee.Harris@gannett.com.
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