(Reuters) - A Colorado man riding a horse to his brother's wedding 600 miles (965 km) away in Utah was arrested for drunken driving, animal cruelty and other charges after witnesses reported him blocking traffic and hitting his horse, police said on Tuesday.
Patrick Schumacher, 45, was taken into custody in Boulder on Monday afternoon by University of Colorado police after officers found him visibly intoxicated, police spokesman Ryan Huff said.
Huff said Schumacher was cooperative but failed a field sobriety test and a search of his saddle bag turned up a small pistol and several beer cans. A small pug dog named Bufford was found in his backpack.
"This is pretty unusual," Huff said. "It's probably the first time in department history that we have pulled someone over for driving under the influence while on a horse."
Schumacher was arrested on misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty, prohibited use of weapons and reckless endangerment, as well as drunken horseback riding, which is a traffic infraction.
He has yet to be formally charged by prosecutors, Huff said, and is due in court October 31.
When asked by officers why he hit the horse, Schumacher said that he was swatting a fly on its head, Huff said. Witnesses had told police that the horse was rearing up in traffic.
Schumacher's horse, named Dillon, and his dog were sheltered overnight by the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. The pistol was held as evidence.
Schumacher was released from custody late Monday night and was reunited with Dillon and Bufford on Tuesday morning, Huff said.
Shortly thereafter, he rode off on the horse, with Bufford in his backpack, telling officers that he was again en route to his brother's wedding in Bryce, Utah, Huff said.
Schumacher told police that he'd lost his driver's license, so he decided to make the trip to his brother's wedding on horseback, Huff said.
"We took him at his word," Huff said.
Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Osterman