Amish Horse Leaves Owner Behind, Goes On 10-Mile “Joyride”

An Amish-owned horse decided to go for a little ride with no one behind the wheel, so to speak.

The incident happened Sunday morning in the Holmes County, OH community. From the Wooster Daily Record:

Ohio State Patrol Sgt. C.O. Smith was the one of a a small group of law enforcement officers from the patrol, Wooster Police Department and Wayne County Sheriff’s Office who were called at 7:07 a.m. to corral the animal, which had run 10 miles before being brought to a stop on U.S. Route 250 near state Route 83 and The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute.

The horse was running the wrong way in the eastbound lane when Smith, seeing the reins hanging over the windshield of the buggy, ran alongside it, then jumped in and grabbed the reins, bringing the horse to a quick stop.

The horse was panting and collapsed on the scene, but Smith said was examined by a veterinarian, given some water and was in good health when it was returned to its owner.

Sunday morning (and Sunday in general) is when you have arguably the most Amish buggies on the road, due to community members traveling between home and church.

This could have ended very badly (runaway horses have caused serious accidents, as in this 2013 case in Pennsylvania).

But thanks to the good work of Sergeant Smith, the excursion came to a safe conclusion.

Though the images posted to the Wooster Police Department Facebook page show you how worn out this horse was:

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    1. It Happens

      Similar thing happened to me a few years ago. Neighbor’s horse got loose and took off trotting down the road. He and I got in my car to follow, but no way was it stopping. Scary part was that a brown horse is hard to see on that fast-paced road, and I was afraid it would get hit. Fortunately, the horse just ran a few miles to man’s father-in-law’s place and ran up to the barn. It’s rare to see one go as far as this article, though. Must have had a kid holding him.

    2. Jeff

      Poor horse

      Poor thing. Probably got spooked by something. I’m glad to hear it was okay. I hope they took it home and gave it some food, water and shade. I’d be petting it all afternoon after something like that.

      1. Judith


        I feel exactly the same way – poor thing! TLC needed stat!

    3. Alice Mary

      So glad the horse is OK and there wasn’t any other mishap related to his romp. Poor thing!

      When I lived in another county many years back, before it became totally “suburbanized” we’d occasionally see a horse or cow wandering the road in our area. Now, it’s mainly PEOPLE who, for whatever reason, don’t “like” to use the sidewalks all of our taxes pay for—to keep them out of the roads & SAFE! Even parents with babies/toddlers in strollers (and I don’t mean jogging strollers!) Common sense has seemingly been bred out of many folks these days! I just shake my head.

      Alice Mary

    4. Kiki

      Run-away horse

      Wow, it’s amazing that the horse didn’t die of exhaustion! I’m wondering if that horse was spooked and is a “rookie”. I’d bet it was trying to get away from whatever spooked it and couldn’t because the buggy was attached! The buggy itself could’ve become a source of fright too. Why aren’t posts used to prevent this from happening? I’ve seen photos of the horses and buggies at church services just standing there, not tied onto posts. To me, that’s just irresponsible.
      Thank God for the Officer who stopped the buggy and saved not only the horse, but perhaps someone’s life by preventing a tragic accident!

      1. Mark -- Holmes Co.


        I’ve never in my life seen a horse & buggy just left standing unattended. Anytime you are stopping, it’s automatic to tie the horse and, at least with our kind of buggy, often with the brake locked. If you see a horse & buggy “standing” at church, my guess is there is a man inside waiting patiently (sometime impatiently?) for his wife & younger children to get their things together and board the buggy for the trip home. Anyone trusting a horse to stand unattended is asking for trouble and should they do so once, I’m guessing it would never be repeated!

        Having said that, I know we once accidentally left a horse untied at a hitching rack. My wife assumed I was getting the tie-rope out, but I was getting fly-spray and assumed she’d tie him. Somehow we both walked away not realizing it was not tied. (Though the brake was locked.) We had “fits” to return and discover our horse had been left standing at a hitching rack in town untied! Thankfully nothing happened! The funny part was the horse was impatiently pawing, never realizing there was nothing keeping him there.

        1. This reminded me of the elephant and the rope story. About a massive elephant tied up with a rope which he could easily break if he only made an effort. But he doesn’t do that because he’s become accustomed to being tied up since being a young elephant, when he learned that any attempt to escape was futile. Even though he now possesses the strength to do so as an adult elephant.

          Well it’s more of a metaphor for ways of thinking and mental habits holding us back. But, your impatiently pawing horse painted a similar picture for me 🙂

          1. Mark -- Holmes Co.

            I’d forgotten the elephant & rope story, Erik, but thanks for reminding me. It does tie into the “pawing horse” idea as well as habits or ways of thinking. 🙂

    5. OldKat


      Any horse can spoke and get away from their handler before you know it. A buggy horse has some things working against it that will make it more prone to running than, say, a saddle horse will. First; they are pulling a noisy, clunky thing behind them and then, generally, they are wearing blinders (blinkers) to prevent them from getting a glimpse of something that is coming up on them from behind and bolting.

      Unfortunately, if they run and the buggy starts bouncing around, making more & more noise and racket, the horse becomes more frightened. It can’t see what is behind it, so it runs harder and by now the buggy is probably making even more noises that it usually doesn’t make. Then the horse gets even MORE frightened. It becomes sort of circular thing. It is pretty much all downhill from there. Being a prey animal, their instinct is to run until they get away from the monster that is chasing them. When they are hitches to that monster there is no out running it.

      A horse that runs away once is also much more prone to doing it again … but this one MAY have gotten it out of his system. Running that far, pulling that much weight and getting that exhausted there is a good chance that he will be road foundered, which will pretty much end his usefulness. Generally foundered horses end up getting put down. Ask me how I know this … :<(

    6. Bill Rushby

      The "Impossible" Happened

      This reminds me of the time our barber called and told us there was a report on the radio of a runaway black horse near “White Church” on the back road from Moriah to Crown Point (Corners?). He thought the horse might be ours. I told him it couldn’t be, but I would go to see if the horse was where it belonged; it wasn’t!!!!! Fortunately, its wild journey to “freedom” didn’t cause any accidents! It had traveled ten miles but was not exhausted. I rode it home!

    7. Judith

      Questions about horses

      I have a few questions about horses in the Amish Community. For the average Amish family – how often does one take out their buggy and go somewhere? How far can one go with a horse and buggy in a day? Do Amish bring water for their horses when they go somewhere? How often do the Amish have a visit from the Farrier – and how much does that cost? What do the Amish do with their retired animals (horses too old to pull a cart)? How often do the Amish give their horses a bath or shower? How does one secure a horse to a buggy by oneself? If the Amish person doesn’t have a farm, where do they keep their horses if there isn’t a barn – or do all Amish people have a barn even if they don’t live on a farm? Do most Amish buy their horses at the auction – or do they raise their own colts? When riding in the rain, do the Amish get soaked (I see buggies that don’t have doors)? How come I don’t see many Amish just riding a horse with a saddle on it? Is it more convenient to hitch them to a buggy or put a saddle on? I know all animals have their own personalities – but how does one know a horse’s personality at an auction? How can one tell? What do the Amish look for in their horses when they go to auction?

      Sorry – that was more than a few questions….

      These are all ignorant questions from a curious city girl.