Salt River Project workers rescue horse from Arizona Canal in East Valley

Jul 22, 2022, 12:30 PM

PHOENIX — When Kristen Keim first saw a horse standing in the water of the Arizona Canal, she didn’t think much of it.

Keim was removing moss from an area of the canal on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community on a typically hot summer day on July 9 in the Valley.

The horse seemed unbothered, blowing bubbles with its nose. When Keim returned to the area a few hours later, the horse was further into the water.

“I hadn’t realized earlier that morning that it was kneeling on all four knees,” Keim, a watermaster for Salt River Project, said in a press release. “I grew concerned that it may be injured, stuck in some mud or that it couldn’t get its footing as the moss can be slippery.

“Once I realized that he could be injured and knowing the history of the beloved Salt River wild horse population, I was determined to get him out of the water.”

Keim sprung into action, calling an SRP dispatch center while cautiously approaching the horse.

The animal was friendly, but Keim couldn’t get it up the ramp and out of the water.

She called another watermaster, Chris Crosland, to get the horse to safety.

It took some creativity to get the horse on land.

“I retrieved a rope from my truck and tied a large loop in the end,” Keim said. “I was able to lasso him and pull him a few feet towards the ramp.

“I teamed up with Chris, using the rope and the pole to carefully pull the horse and help shuffle his legs up the ramp. It took some time, but he finally gathered his footing and safely made his way up the ramp.”

With the horse on land, the job was over.

The animal crossed the canal road into the shade, ate some brush and disappeared into the trees.

“I had to do everything in my power to make sure that he was okay,” Keim said. “It was a great reminder to always be aware of your surroundings, you never know what could happen.”

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Salt River Project workers rescue horse from Arizona Canal in East Valley