BOULDER, Colo. - CU-Boulder police say they arrested a horseman for "riding under the influence," a weapon violation and animal cruelty Monday afternoon, after witnesses reported he was striking the horse and officers found a small handgun and beers cans in his saddle bag.
The incident began about 2:15 p.m. when police dispatchers received a report of a man repeatedly hitting his horse in the area of Broadway and Baseline Road, University of Colorado-Boulder police said.
Witnesses told police the man hit the horse hard enough that it reared up on its hind legs. CU Police officers said they later saw the man near Broadway and College Avenue riding his horse, Dillon, while carrying his dog, a small pug named Bufford.
Officers observed the rider was slumped to his right side in the saddle as he crossed streets and forced pedestrians off the sidewalk, police said.
CU Police tweeted that officers spotted the "Horse/rider stumbling into #Boulder traffic…Rider also had a small dog in his backpack while riding."
Officers asked the rider, 45-year-old Patrick Neal Schumacher of Colorado Springs, to dismount from the horse. Police said Schumacher slurred his words, appeared intoxicated and failed roadside intoxication tests.
Officers found a small, black-powder pistol and beer cans in Schumacher's saddle bag.
When officer's asked Schumacher about reports that he was striking his horse, the man said that he was just trying to hit a fly on Dillon’s head.
Joe McGuigan and Daniel Diehl, who are vacationing from Philadelphia, took photos of the horseman's arrest at 14th Street and Euclid Avenue, across the street from the CU bookstore in the University Hill neighborhood.
The photos showed officers handcuffing a man with graying hair and beard who was wearing blue jeans, a brown T-shirt and boots as his brown horse stood on the sidewalk.
A pug intently watched the arrest.
Police arrested Schumacher animal cruelty and prohibited use of weapons, riding a horse while under the influence of alcohol and reckless endangerment.
Schumacher police that he was traveling by horse from Larkspur, Colo., to Bryce, Utah -- a 600-mile journey by car -- to attend his brother's wedding.
Schumacher said he previously lost his driver’s license, so he decided to ride his horse to Utah, police said.
Court records show that Schumacher has also run into trouble with the law while driving a car.
In 2000, he was arrested in El Paso County for felony vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an injury accident, speeding and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, according to court records.
Schumacher pleaded guilty to felony vehicular assault and was a given a three-year deferred sentence, court records state. This allowed the man to avoid jail time and clear his record if he stayed out of trouble for three years. All other charges were dismissed.