When photographer Sandra Boos heard the words “the unicorn is in custody” over a police radio Wednesday night, she said she almost burst into tears.
“It was the comedic relief I needed at the time,” she said in a phone interview.
The California photographer has owned Juliet, a 20-year-old white pony, for about a year. She bought her for her five-year-old daughter and occasionally dresses up the pony as a unicorn for special photo shoots.
During a photo shoot for a local family Wednesday evening, Juliet got spooked and ran.
“A gentleman was holding her and she threw up her head and ran,” said Boos.
“He probably wasn’t holding the rope too tight.”
The pony ran through the orchard where the photo shoot was taking place and onto a major country road.
For four hours, ranch hands, the California Highway Patrol and passers-by tried to corral Juliet. As the sun set, authorities had to bring in a helicopter equipped with infrared to detect Juliet with a heat sensor.
“It was really scary. This is my daughter’s pony, her pet, so I was afraid for her,” said Boos. She said she was also worried for drivers out on the road, unaware of the runaway “unicorn.”
“She’s 300, 400lbs. That could be really dangerous.”
Once authorities detected Juliet in an orchard about eight kilometres away, a family friend trained in rescue tactics rode towards Juliet on a horse that the pony was familiar with. She was able to lure the runaway to a nearby pen.
No animals or people were injured during the incident.