Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Spooked carriage horse drowns after running into the Missouri River along St. Charles riverfront

Spooked carriage horse drowns after running into the Missouri River along St. Charles riverfront

{{featured_button_text}}

A startled horse dragging a carriage dashed into the Missouri River along the St. Charles riverfront and drowned in the frigid water Wednesday night as handlers looked on, unable to help.

The horse was spooked about 9:45 p.m. when its handler from St. Louis Carriage Company removed a blinder from the horse’s eyes and prepared to put the animal on a trailer to take back to a barn, according to St. Charles Fire Chief Dan Casey. The Percheron draft horse took off running, pulling an empty carriage behind it. The carriage struck and damaged several vehicles in a parking lot near the Lewis and Clark Boat House before the horse ran down a ramp into the river.

Casey said the 13-year-old horse, named Cash, weighed between 1,800 and 2,000 pounds and was pulling a 1,400-pound carriage.

Greg Streeter, who owns St. Louis Carriage Company, said the horse saw the water and tried to stop or turn but slid into the river.

“We are mourning the loss of a family member,” he said. “It happened really fast. Within 30 seconds he was under and down.”

The horse died within minutes of going into the water due to the frigid temperatures, Casey said. The river was cold enough it carried chunks of ice on the surface.

Firefighters dressed in their cold weather suits went into the water and detached the horse from the carriage, he said. The horse was 40 feet from the ramp and under at least 15 feet of water.

“When we arrived the horse was already deceased under the water,” Casey said. “No one or animal would have survived in that cold or water.”

It took firefighters three hours to get the horse out of the water.

Streeter, the owner of the carriage company, said the incident was due to “a horrible mistake” by the handler. The handler should not have taken the blinder off before the horse was detached from the carriage, he said.

He said he preaches to his handlers about safety rules to prevent incidents such like this. He said he treats all of his horses as if they were his kids. His own children were there and watched in horror, he said.

“It is a pretty good hit in the gut for us right now,” he said.

He said he had owned Cash for about a decade.

“He was right in his prime,” he said. “He was a very good horse. It was so preventable.”

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Denise Hollinshed is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

Breaking News

Trending

National News

News