An unattended horse strolls through the intersection of Seventh and Maple near the North Bend Post Office Friday afternoon. After wandering around town for a spell, it ended up at Pioneer Lake where it was finally caught.
Horse goes on adventure through North Bend
by Nathan Arneal
Equine tourism has taken a big jump in North Bend lately. In fact, a horse was seen vacationing in North Bend on Friday afternoon.
Jason Hellbusch saw the gray horse walking through the muddy fields west of North Bend from his house on Highway 30 just outside of town.
The horse kept going, strolling east down Eighth Street and eventually moving over to Seventh Street where it paused briefly in front of the post office to leave a pile of mementos as an undoubtedly confused motorist waited in the middle of the street.
The horse then continued to Main Street and turned south. After taking in the downtown sites for less than a block, it darted into the alley and Platte Valley Bank parking lot.
That’s where Terry Beed first saw the horse out the back window of his automotive shop on Highway 30.
“I had a customer out there and I said, ‘Look out. There’s a horse coming and I think it’s all by itself,’” Beed said.
He watched as the horse stopped Highway 30 traffic while crossing to the south side of the highway, heading for the railroad tracks.
“All the traffic stopped really nice,” Beed said. “Then he went over by the railroad tracks, and I said, ‘Oh, he’s going to get clipped by a train. We got to get him across those tracks.’”
Beed stopped at Dorcy, Inc. to see if they had any kind of lasso or rope to put around the horse. Mike Dorcey said they didn’t have anything like that, but he found a tow strap that might do the trick.
Beed followed the horse along the railroad tracks to the Cottonwood St. crossing leading to the golf course. There he was able to shoo the horse off the tracks.
The horse continued south past the golf course and into the Pioneer Lake housing development. Dorcey followed in his pickup truck.
The horse walked along the beach behind a house and eventually ventured out onto the frozen lake.
Though the preceding days saw freezing cold and snow, the temperature Friday afternoon was now approaching 60 degrees. A few spots of open water dotted the shore. The horse continued walking across the ice to the south. At one point it slipped, panicked slightly and started to trot, which led to more slipping. Dorcey said he was fearful it would break through the ice at any moment.
By this time the Dodge County Sheriff’s office had been alerted and a deputy was on the scene. City clerk Theresa Busse called horse owner Jamie Brodd to see if the horse was hers. It wasn’t, but Brodd and her friend, fellow horse enthusiast Shannon McDonald, arrived on the scene with a lead rope and halter for the horse and a goal of corralling the animal.
By then the horse was along the south shore of the lake, standing idly on the ice.
Dorcey filled a jug he had in his truck with gravel, hoping to coax the horse over by shaking it and making the horse think it was feed.
When that didn’t work, Dorcey saw no option but to venture onto the ice himself.
“I could hear it cracking and breaking,” Dorcey said. “It was very, very uncomfortable. That was probably the most uncomfortable I’ve been for a long time. But I didn’t want to risk watching the horse fall through and panic and take a chance of an animal fatality.”
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