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Horse rescued from canal on Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community

SRP workers save horse from canal
Posted at 8:31 AM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 19:09:38-04

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — A horse is okay after it found itself stuck in a canal on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community.

Salt River Project water master Kristen Keim was working an area of the Arizona Canal on July 9 when she noticed the horse standing in waist-deep water.

"The horse was near one of our equipment entrance ramps and did not appear to be in distress and was even blowing bubbles with its nose," said Keim. "It was a very warm morning, and I didn’t think twice about it being in the water as we often see the wild horses in the area enter the canal to cool off."

Wild horse rescued from canal

Keim left the area and came back later to find the horse still in the canal, facing the same direction but a little bit further out in the water.

"I hadn’t realized earlier that morning that it was kneeling on all four knees. I grew concerned that it may be injured, stuck in some mud or that it couldn’t get its footing as the moss can be slippery," Keim said. "Once I realized that he could be injured and knowing the history of the beloved Salt River wild horse population, I was determined to get him out of the water."

Keim initially tried to get the horse out on her own. While it was not scared of her, she could not get the horse out of the water on her own.

After calling her colleague and fellow water master Chris Crosland to help, Keim then turned to what SRP called a "wild west approach."

Wild horse canal rescue

"I retrieved a rope from my truck and tied a large loop in the end. I was able to lasso him and pull him a few feet towards the ramp," Keim said. "I teamed up with Chris, using the rope and the pole to carefully pull the horse and help shuffle his legs up the ramp. It took some time, but he finally gathered his footing and made his way safely up the ramp. Eventually, he crossed the canal road, into the shade and began eating some brush. I watched him disappear into the trees."

SRP is using the horse rescue to remind people of canal safety tips. They warn to not get in canal water for any reason. Swimming, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing and tubing are also prohibited in canals.