Equine obit

We were having dinner at Zuma Sushi Sunday night when Kristy Craft — a friend at the next table told us about the most amazing thing she had ever seen — six horses at a full on gallop going North on PCH. She said cars were backed up for blocks — all crawling along, weaving and flashing their lights as they helped shepherd the running pack and warn oncoming cars of their presence. But when the leader of the herd momentarily crossed over to the southbound lanes — he was hit straight on. It never really occurred to us that our horses could be involved in the fast-moving drama — we lived miles from where they were stampeding. But Larry thought he could help identify the dead horse and assist in the rescue of the others — so we quickly left the restaurant. He pulled off to the side at Zumeriz — the scene of several flashing sheriff and fire vehicles — and moments later walked back to the car to tell me and the girls that it was our horse — Dandy that lay dead in the middle of PCH.

Dandy was the favorite — the youngest, cutest, smartest “puppy dog” horse — the one with real personality. He was actually a big pony and he loved kids! Scores of Malibu children have ridden Dandy around our ring over the years as we duly trotted him out every time Rachel or Rebecca had a birthday party. He was inquisitive and mischievous — and had finally figured out a way to unlatch the gate we never used because it was too difficult to open. But the recent rains had apparently eased the pipe corrals just enough so that Dandy was able to flip the latch open with his soft brown nose — that loving little nose that used to nuzzle us all. The other horses would have been content to eat forbidden hay all night from the haystack — but Dandy had his sights on another adventure as he led them down Winding Way — in search no doubt, of the wide open prairie he never knew.

As for the other five horses — they were all rescued and are all fine. I can’t thank Sherman Baylin enough. She was the one authorities immediately called to coordinate the rescue of the other horses and she was the one who — for hours — stood in the cold late Sunday night and never left Dandy’s side — until she saw to it that someone from “Dignified Dead Animal Disposal” out of Somis had picked up his body — guaranteeing a humane end for our beloved horse who will not end up in some dog bowl. The firemen at Zumeriz station were unbelievable — and we would especially like to thank Captain Lee Brown, Engineer Paul Hartwell and paramedics Mark Goeke, Mark Stubbins and Ken Miller. These men helped round up three of the horses from Zumeriz Drive, all the way to the Equestrian Facility in Malibu Park — where a couple at the top of Busch Drive ran down with halters as Sue Heyler and Mike Crowley helped bring the horses to their backyard. We are indebted to friends and neighbors including Tema Merbeck, Kate Albert, Mark and Metta Dresser, David Jeffers, Christy, as well as numerous sheriff and animal control officers who helped.

While Rebecca and Rachel said their prayers and final good-byes to Dandy that night — I said mine for friends, neighbors and a community that came together and helped avert what could have been a far greater tragedy on PCH. It wasn’t until the next morning that I learned Cindy Crawford was injured in the mishap when the car, being driven by her husband swerved to avoid hitting the horses resulting in an eye injury. We understand that Cindy was treated at the scene and released. Larry and I are so very sorry that she was injured while trying to avoid hurting our horses. As for the person who hit our horse — we can imagine how traumatic that must have been and are so thankful no one was injured. Again, our deepest regrets to those involved and our heartfelt thanks to so many who did so much.

Lori and Larry Gray

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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