GRAVENHURST - Motorists were delayed for up to an hour when three ponies decided to use the express route Sunday morning.
Three ponies blocked Hwy 11 southbound for about an hour after excaping from their home Sunday morning. Owners took the ponies home after police and driver caught them and walked them to the Southwood exit south of Gravenhurst.
At 9:08 a.m. Sunday morning, police received a call from drivers on Highway 11 south reporting three panicked Shetland ponies running in the southbound lane by the centre median close to the Muskoka Wildlife Centre.
Muskoka resident Carl Milson was headed south on the highway when he encountered the horses.
“We saw these cars swerving, then we saw horses on the highway,” he said.
“These cars were almost hitting the horses, so we finally got up behind the horses and we put our four-ways on and then we were holding the traffic back because these horses were going lane to lane and one of them was going to get killed.”
He said they drove their car into the middle of the lanes, trying to edge the horses closer to the shoulder, while cars then drove past, honking.
“I told the OPP and 9-1-1, if we just get hold of one horse, the others will follow because they’re in a pack,” he said.
When police arrived, he used a dog leash to wrap around one horse’s neck to lead the horse off the road.
The horse called to the other two horses, which then followed Milson down the highway to Southwood exit. There, the owners met them and walked the horses home.
“The OPP was able to obtain the owners of the horses, who came out in their pajamas and retrieved the horses,” Milson said.
Milson’s biggest concern was that some motorists sped past the animals and seemed to have no regard for them.
Sgt. Ted Hurren from the Bracebridge OPP said they receive calls about wild animals such as moose, deer or bear but have never been called to remove horses from the road in that area.
“The safest thing would be to slow down,” he said.