What began as a concerned fisherman reporting a horse, complete with bridal and saddle, floating in the Tangipahoa River led deputies to determine a horse did, in fact, drown, but that the rider was unharmed, according to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office.
It happened Sunday, February 15, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office Sgt. Michael Christmas was dispatched to LA. 440 near the Tangipahoa River Bridge in the Village of Tangipahoa in reference to a service call. Sgt. Christmas was advised by the fisherman that the horse appeared to have gotten tangled in the debris approximately 500 yards south of the bridge and drowned.
At this point, locating the rider and preserving the integrity of the river became top priority. Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Deputy Ronnie Harper, Water Patrol Division and Detective Jill Hutchinson of the Mounted Division were called on scene to provide additional support. Upon their arrival, deputies immediately began a search of the area for both the horse and, possibly, an injured rider.
Deputies then learned that Kenneth Ballard of South River Road had been riding his horse along the river earlier that day. The investigation indicated that Ballard was trying to walk his horse across the river when the horse apparently got scared, became unruly and drowned in the river waters, although Ballard was able to escape unharmed.
Deputies later contacted Ballard and he confirmed the facts as obtained by deputies. Once confirming the rider safe and unharmed, deputies called off the river-area search.