After an arrest on suspicion of drunken horseback riding forced them to make a brief pit stop in Boulder, a Colorado Springs man, his horse and his pug were back on the open road Tuesday as the odd trio continued on their 600-mile quest to a wedding in Utah.
About eight hours after he was arrested on University Hill, Patrick Neal Schumacher, 45, bonded out of the Boulder County Jail on Monday night. By Tuesday, he was reunited with his horse, Dillon, and his dog, Bufford, at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley.
Schumacher said he was riding from Larkspur to his brother's Sept. 20 wedding in Bryce, Utah, when he was arrested.
"He's the only way I got to get out there," Schumacher said. "My brother said he might wait for me, but I told him if I don't make it, just go without me."
He said his driver's license was revoked several years ago. According to court records, Schumacher pleaded guilty to vehicular assault in El Paso County in 2001 and received a deferred sentence.
Schumacher said the 12-year-old horse has made similar trips before, once walking from Utah to South Dakota, and added that he brings shoeing equipment should he need it along the way.
"I got me a good horse," he said. "I can get anywhere I need to go."
Schumacher is due to return to court in Boulder on Oct. 31 to be charged in the case.
Officials from the Boulder County District Attorney's Office said Tuesday they're not sure such a "riding under the influence" case has been prosecuted here before.
Schumacher was arrested on suspicion of cruelty to animals, prohibited use of weapons and reckless endangerment, all misdemeanors, as well as riding a horse while under the influence of alcohol, a traffic infraction.
According to Colorado revised statutes, "It is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of alcohol or of any controlled substance ... or of any stupefying drug to walk or be upon that portion of any highway normally used by moving motor vehicle traffic. This section applying to pedestrians shall also be applicable to riders of animals."
Spokeswoman Catherine Olguin said officials in the DA's Office cannot recall ever prosecuting a "horse riding under the influence" case and could not find any record of such prosecutions.
Schumacher said he had consumed two or three beers before police found him Monday, but he insisted that he was not drunk.
"I didn't understand why they swooped in," he said.
He said he had heard there might be a law against riding a horse drunk, but he didn't think what he did was criminal and said the arrest was a misunderstanding.
"I heard, and I meant to ask one of the policemen, but I wasn't drunk."
Police began receiving calls around 2:30 p.m. Monday from people who spotted the unusual wedding party going north on
Witnesses said Schumacher and his horse were wandering into traffic and also reported seeing the rider repeatedly hit the horse near Broadway and Baseline Road. Police sad the man struck the horse hard enough that it reared up on its hind legs.
When police found him on University Hill near Broadway and College Avenue, Schumacher was slumped over to the right and forcing people off the sidewalks, officials said. Officers asked him to dismount and gave him a roadside sobriety test, which Schumacher failed, police said.
According to CU police, when officers asked Schumacher about striking the horse, he told them he was smacking flies off Dillon's head.
Officers reported finding the pug riding in a backpack and a small black powder pistol and beer in one of Schumacher's saddlebags.
But Schumacher said the pug always rides on his backpack -- not in it -- with Dillon, and that he has never mistreated either animal.
"These two get along real well," Schumacher said. "I would never hit my animals."
Officials said the prohibited weapons charge was for being in possession of a firearm while intoxicated, though Schumacher described it Tuesday as a "piece of junk." Police have held onto the weapon as evidence.
As for the long journey, CU police spokesman Ryan Huff said his office has been flooded with calls from people looking to help out the three travelers, and Schumacher said at one point they may hitch a ride if they can.
"I've run into some real nice people on the way," Schumacher said.
He also said it is not the first time one of his journeys has gotten media attention.
"We've been on TV news a few times, been in all kinds of newspapers all over the country," he said. "It's just me and this little guy and this big guy, and we go all over the place. We want to go someplace, we go."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or email@example.com.