Paw & Order: The Case of the Runaway Horse

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The suspect did not listen when Pasco County Sheriff’s Cpl. Art Madden tried to be polite. She also ignored his attempts at “making funny horse noises.”

The four-legged, tan-and-cream paint mare just kept trotting down Florida’s busy U.S. Highway 19, oblivious to cars “taking evasive action” to get out of her way.

“Could you please stop,” he called to the horse hightailing it down the road Wednesday morning during rush hour. Instead, the mare ran across traffic, jumped on the median and bolted to the other side of the road. 

“I said ‘What the heck?”’ Madden told InsideEdition.com Thursday. “Mind you, I don’t know to how to catch a horse.”

Madden was able to herd the animal into a housing track, she finally came to a stop. Madden got out of his cruiser and warily approached the suspect.

“I’m making all the funny noises I think you’re supposed to make to a horse,” Madden said. 

They fell on very large, deaf ears. The mare “took off,” leaving Madden scrambling to get back in his Jeep. He pursued the horse in a slow-speed chase fueled by “one horsepower,” the deputy said. 

The mare stopped again, and this time Madden got out and threw his arms around the horse’s neck. “I’m holding onto it and talking in its ear,” he said. “I don’t know a lot about horses. I didn’t know if it was going to bite me or take off with me holding on.”

Madden says fatigue apparently over and the pooped paint horse just stood there and shuffled around a bit.

Meanwhile, the animal’s owner had reported her missing and another sheriff’s vehicle pulled up on a search of the area.

Residents came out of their houses to view the strange sight, and they brought carrots, peanut butter and a bucket of water.

The mare ate the peanut butter right out of their hands, Madden said. And after spraying water all over the people standing nearby, the horse drank from the bucket. 

The owner eventually showed up and walked the mare home. The animal may have been spooked by coyotes near its corral, and it appeared antsy.

There were some wounds on its chest, but after the horse was cleaned up with antiseptic and returned to her lodgings, she appeared to be in stable condition.

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