A 1-year-old horse strayed a bit too far from the pasture on Tuesday afternoon and slipped into a swimming pool.
The gelding was grazing with his herd at a 20-acre property in Nipomo when he and an older horse escaped through an open gate and snuck into the yard of a vacant vacation rental property, according to Julie Monser, a founding member of San Luis Obispo County Horse Emergency Evacuation Team.
The younger horse fell through the cover of the AirBnB’s pool and found himself stuck in the deep end, Monser said.
A property manager found the gelding struggling in the pool at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Monser said.
“He was pretty banged up,” Monser said. “He wanted out. He was treading water for quite awhile.”
The horse had scraped his face and all four fetlocks while splashing around the pool, Monser said.
Though veterinarians sometimes exercise horses with underwater treadmills in swimming pools, horses typically don’t go for solo swims, she said.
The property manager called HEET for help, Monser said, and the rescue team sprung into action — joined by Cal Fire, veterinarian Dr. Andrew Dibbern and neighbors.
According to Monser, a neighbor jumped into the pool, put a halter on the gelding and lead him to the shallow end.
The rescuers then “pushed and pulled” the startled horse up the pool steps and onto solid ground, said Monser, who arrived on the scene after the gelding was out of the water.
Besides a few scrapes, the gelding was healthy — though a little shaken, she said.
“He had that look of disbelief in his face, and he was standing quietly,” Monser said. “He was very quiet and very well mannered for a young horse.”
A neighbor looked after the gelding until his owner picked him up a few hours later, Monser said.
According to Monsor, the older horse accompanying the gelding returned home without getting into trouble.
“He was an older horse and he knew better,” Monser said, jokingly calling him “a true friend.”
“We are happy to report a happy (but exhausting) ending for the young gelding!” HEET said on Facebook.
This story was at first printed April 26, 2023, 11:36 AM.