Some situations just call for country girl skills. That’s what happened this morning when a woman used apples from her lunchbox to help catch a couple of runaway horses on State Highway 130, the road with the highest speed limit in the nation.
Here in Texas horses are not a rare sight, however, it’s still pretty uncommon to find them on the freeway (outside of a trailer that is). That’s just what happened to some drivers on State Highway 130 in Pflugerville Monday morning though.
A motley crew of commuters, including office workers, construction workers and off-duty police came together to corral the horses using construction straps and apples meant for a mid-morning office snack.
“I was just driving down 130 when traffic started to slow all of a sudden and then I noticed on the grassy median between the highway and the frontage road a couple of horses, a bay and a grey, were running around,” says Leslie Reid of Pflugerville.
According to Reid, a van with two men inside stopped, and one got out and tried to catch the frightened animals. However, with nothing to rein them, they quickly got away again.
“One guy got out and actually managed to grab the bay by the mane and was hanging on to him, but he didn’t have anything to tie him with, I thought ‘I should tell him to use his belt,’” but the horse, and the good Samaritan were too fast. “By the time I got up there the horse had gotten away again.”
Other drivers were starting to pitch in to help catch the horses by this time.
“There was an APD crime vehicle in front of me, and some construction vehicles, so they all started angling their cars in sort of a V shape to corner the horses. It was working but I could tell they were scared and I started to worry they’d jump the barrier into oncoming traffic.”
That’s when Reid realized she had a treat the horses might like.
“I’ve owned horses and ridden them since I was 10, but I hadn’t been out riding lately, so I didn’t have any rope or tack in my car. I started wracking my brain trying to think what I might have in the van that I could use to help catch horses, and then I thought of the apples.”
Reid had brought apples for a mid-morning snack to munch on at work, so she pulled her car over and retrieved them from the trunk. Being familiar with horses, Reid knew it’s unwise to come fast at a frightened animal, so she approached with caution.
“I walked slowly over toward the horses with the apples, the grey horse had come back but wasn’t letting anyone by him, so I got the apple and started going ‘ch ch ch’ to call him over, but he was still spooked.”
Eventually jealousy won out though.
“So I got the bay horse an apple first, and then the grey horse wanted some too so he finally came over.”
The construction workers used a strap to tie up the mounts and the problem then seemed well in hand.
Seeing that the horses had been successfully corralled, Reid snapped a couple of pictures and then got back into the car to finish her drive into town.
“They probably got out through a fence and just sort of went for a joy ride,” she laughed. The horses (and their owners) were fortunate thanks to the apples, and the team work of several helpful strangers.