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Warning: The Dangers of Drinking and Riding

Is Whisky to blame for turning people into “one-armed paper hangers”?

Whisky, the horse, I mean.

Back in the spring of 2008, a paint horse named Whisky broke loose after being tied outside a bar near Lake Desolation in Saratoga County, N.Y.. Concerned citizen Robert Carey saw Whisky and his “wingman” cowboy galloping off down the street and attempted to corral the wayward wards. After grabbing Whisky, Carey was allegedly knocked unconscious by Whisky, badly injuring his shoulder. Two surgeries to repair the damage to Carey’s shoulder were apparently unsuccessful, and Carey remains unable to work five years later, prompting his lawyer to say Carey is “…the proverbial one-armed paper hanger.”

In the classic, “he said, he neighed” style representative of this sort of legal case, Whisky’s side of the court room claims Whisky is “calm, docile, well-trained, and sociable.” Further, Whisky’s owner, Burton Schwab, claims that he’s never received complaints about Whisky’s behavior in the past “had no knowledge of Whisky ever moving or jerking his head violently or quickly, knocking anyone to the ground, or stomping on anyone.”

A county judge refused to dismiss the case, and as reported on Tuesday Sept. 10th, 2013, the Appellate Division’s Albany-based Third Department affirmed that decision. As such, Whisky’s owner might in fact ultimately be held liable for his troubles with Whisky as the court case drags on.

Alcohol was also to blame in the recent arrest of Patrick Schumacher, 45, who was taken into custody by the University of Colorado Police Department in Boulder, Colo., for driving under the influence while on horseback and animal cruelty. Schumacher failed a sobriety test, and a search of his backpack revealed a gun, several beers, and a pug named Bufford. The horse and pug were held overnight by the local humane society but were released back into Schumacher’s care on Tuesday September 10th. Schumacher then remounted and continued the 600-mile trek to Bryce, Utah, for his brother’s wedding.

When police asked Schumacher why he was riding, Schumacher informed them he had lost his driving license. Police say this is probably the first time they arrested someone for drunk horseback riding, which is a traffic violation. Schumacher has not officially been charged and is due back in court on Halloween.  

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