Horse airlifted to safety after being stuck in Santa Ana River for nearly 24 hours

April 1, 2024

Horse freed nearly 24 hours after getting stuck in Santa Ana River

Horse freed nearly 24 hours after getting stuck in Santa Ana River


A horse was airlifted to safety nearly 24 hours after getting stuck in the Santa Ana River over the weekend. 

The horse got stuck at around 6 p.m. on Saturday evening, according to Cal Fire officials, and even though rescue teams were able to pull him out Sunday afternoon, he was so exhausted that he couldn’t move. 

The horse stuck in the river with rescuers nearby. 


They say that two horses and their riders were riding along the river when the horses possibly got spooked and ran off.

“My husband and his friends were riding the horses last night and I guess they got spooked,” said Diana Solis. “So, I guess they lost control of both horses.”

It took hours before any news as to where the second horse was located, until community members spotted it early Sunday. 

“The horses were located via social media today,” said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Alex Paul.

Firefighters say that the second horse and both of the riders are okay, and that though exhausted and in serious condition, the stuck horse should recover fine as well after it was analyzed by a veterinarian when it was returned to his owner.

Swift water rescue team members and the horse’s owner floated along the river on Sunday to locate the horse, which became stuck in a divot in the riverbed overnight. 

Neighbors in the area watched the tense moments that the horse, a Caballero named Conquistador, was finally lifted to safety at around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

Firefighters used the incident as an opportunity to warn the public about the real dangers that persist even when rain stops falling near the river. 

“When we have rain or flash flood warning it’s important to heed those warnings. The Santa Ana River typically has flash floods even after the rain has stopped,” Paul said. 

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