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Drunk driving: horsepower doesn't have to come from an engine

Most people know that consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a car, truck or other automobile could lead to drunk driving charges. The word “driving” is even in the name of the offense. What isn’t as clear is what other modes of transportation could lead to an alcohol-related arrest. Does the vehicle even have to have a motor at all?

A Colorado Springs man was arrested this week near the University of Colorado campus on suspicion of riding under the influence. In this case, it wasn’t a motorcycle seat but the saddle of a horse that he rested upon.

According to the CU police, witnesses began making reports that they saw a man riding a horse through the street; others were concerned that they had seen the man slapping the horse while he was riding.

When the officers arrived on the scene, they observed the man slumped over on the horse. They asked him to dismount and participate in field sobriety tests. According to the police, the man was unable to sufficiently complete these tests. The man was eventually arrested on charges of riding a horse while under the influence of alcohol.

When police searched the man’s belongings, they also found his pet dog riding in a backpack, which, combined with the allegations of slapping the horse, led to suspicion of animal cruelty. A gun found in a saddlebag added a prohibited use of a weapon charge to the list.

When questioned, the man said that he had lost his driver’s license at some point and was riding the horse as an alternate mode of transportation. As to the “slapping,” he said that he was swatting flies off of the horse.

Source: Daily Camera, “Trip to Utah ends in Boulder with arrest on drunk horseback-riding, animal cruelty charges,” Mitchell Byars and Ashley Dean, Sept. 9, 2013

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