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|12-18-2006, 06:37 PM||#1|
Member Since: Jun 2006
Horse runs free in Annapolis cemetery more than 10 hrs
They tried carrots and apples; chased her with ropes and plied her with grain. But a runaway mare-accustomed to harnesses and plodding through Annapolis' city streets doing tours-just wasn't going to leave Brewer Hill Cemetery on West Street until she was ready to go.
A rotating group of about a dozen horse trainers, police officers and volunteers worked more than 10 hours yesterday to corral Princess, Annapolis Carriage's 7-year-old Percheron horse.
"She was not dangerous, just wanted to enjoy the grass," said Toby Rohrbach, the horse's owner.
Princess, who ran off about 10:30 a.m. from the Loews Annapolis Hotel access road near Taylor Avenue as she was being hitched up for the day, finally gave up at about 8:45 p.m.
Mr. Rohrbach eventually pulled the horse trailer onto West Street - blocking the cemetery's entrance with its door - and let Princess find her way inside.
"She actually ended up walking on the trailer," said Mr. Rohrbach. "In hindsight, (I) wish we came up with moving the trailer idea earlier."
Mr. Rohrbach and his crew of horse wranglers actually gave up about 6:30 p.m., realizing they weren't getting anywhere chasing the black horse around the dark cemetery.
During the daylight, Mr. Rohrbach, a crew of about seven employees and friends, at least five volunteer horse farmers and enthusiasts, and four city police officers tried to corner her with ropes, bribe her with apples and carrots, calm her with her stall mate, and just plain chase her into the back of the waiting horse trailer.
In exchange for their efforts, they saw Princess jump over tombstones, race around grave markers, and even escape the confines of the cemetery and run behind a row of Brewer Avenue homes.
Mr. Rohrbach said they couldn't safely tranquilize or lasso Princess - a sentiment echoed by two other horse ranchers at the scene.
"We would have been concerned about her getting injured," said Mr. Rohrbach, stressing she was confined and not a danger to anyone. "Earlier in the day, we called our vet to get advice…(He) said with Princess the best approach is what we were doing-calm and caring and, of course, waiting."
Police said that if they used a tranquilizer gun to knock out the horse, they'd have no way to move its body into the trailer.
George Phelps, president of the Brewer Hill Cemetery Association, was angry last night that more wasn't being done to catch the horse.
Princess knocked down one tombstone-Mr. Rohrbach pledged to get it fixed-and left the ground trampled and uneven.
"Nobody's going to tell me that there is nobody in the state of Maryland that can handle a horse," Mr. Phelps said about 3:30 p.m., when the crowd of horse wranglers had dwindled to only a handful of Princess's owners and trainers.
"If this was someplace else, they'd have everyone out here," he said, adding that he believed city and county officials didn't care because Brewer Hill is an historic cemetery for African-Americans. "I wonder what they would do if it was the soldiers cemetery or the Catholic cemetery."
A police officer told Mr. Phelps they talked to everyone they could - Animal Control, horse farmers and veterinarians-but no one could come up with a better solution than wait her out.
Tom Giunta, of the Larkin Hundred horse farm in Edgewater, spent about three hours chasing after Princess, giving feed and otherwise trying to calm the animal. He was called by a friend who saw the horse from West Street.
"Have you seen the movie the "Horse Whisperer" with Robert Redford?" he asked, referring to how Mr. Redford's character was able to tame a horse with a few simple words. "It doesn't work that way."
Jerry Smith, acting fire chief of Annapolis and co-owner of the Wind's Home horse farm in Edgewater, said Princess appeared to be tired of her stall and wanting to get out and play.
"She's enjoying every mouthful," said Chief Smith, watching Princess eat grass from around some 50-year old tombstones. "This is a rare treat."
Wasn't first escape
Mr. Rohrbach said Princess walked away from the access road as they were getting her into her harness.
"We do not know why. I suspect nothing major as she only trotted away," he said.
The horse then worked its way over to Brewer Avenue, where police almost got it corralled only to see it leap over the trailer's hitch. Princess then ran between some houses and into an unfenced portion of the cemetery.
Mr. Rohrbach will review what happened yesterday, but said it shouldn't happen again.
"We will … be harnessing at the stables and then hitching - attaching the horse to the carriage - in town."
This is the third time a horse ran off from Annapolis Carriage, which started business in May 2005.
Sir Shad, another Percheron the company has since sold, ran off twice - once on May 29 as he was being unhitched on Taylor Avenue and again June 16 as he was taking a carriage full of passengers down Prince George Street.
The impromptu horse show drew dozens of onlookers from across the area, as curious motorists noticed the horse and cop cars from West Street.
"You don't see this every day, that's for sure," said Pam Carney, of Edgewater, as she watched Princess trot through the cemetery. Mrs. Carney, her husband, Terry, and her son, Patrick, were on their way home from St. Mary's church about noon when they saw the horse.
"One more reason to come to Annapolis," said Mr. Carney.
"See wild horses run through cemeteries and see cops chase them," said Patrick.
Mark Hill, of Warrenton, Va., and his family was visiting his brother, Peter, on Brewer Avenue when they heard bells in the neighboring cemetery about 10:45 a.m. When they looked over the fence, they saw Princess racing between the tombstones.
"We're wondering how many cowboys are available in Annapolis on a Sunday," joked Mark Hill.
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|12-19-2006, 09:27 AM||#2|
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