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VIDEO: Horse Breaks Free in Old Town, Gallops Up Wells

By Paul Biasco | December 20, 2013 10:50am | Updated on December 20, 2013 12:08pm
 A horse named Forrest Gump broke free in Old Town Thursday morning and took off galloping up Wells Street. (Screen grab lightened for clarity.)
A horse named Forrest Gump broke free in Old Town Thursday morning and took off galloping up Wells Street. (Screen grab lightened for clarity.)
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OLD TOWN — A horse named Forrest Gump escaped from a stable in Old Town Thursday morning and galloped up a busy stretch of Wells Street and onto North Avenue before being safely caught.

The whole thing was caught on camera by a bicyclist who was wearing a video camera on her helmet while riding to work in the Loop.

"I heard the horse galloping down the street. It took me a second to realize it was on its own," said Kathleen King, who captured the escape on video. "It was pretty terrifying. It was running straight toward North Avenue, which is pretty busy."

The horse was being transferred to a trailer from the stables at the Noble Horse Theatre, 1410 N. Wells St., when it escaped around 9 a.m.

Employees of Antique Coach and Carriage were moving Forrest Gump, a spotted draft horse, to a trailer to go back to his home farm in Forest Glen when he broke free, according to Debbie Hay, owner of Antique Coach and Carriage.

"He doesn't know that area, so off he went," Hay said. "His name is Forrest Gump. Run, Forrest, run. That’s his real name."

This wasn't the first time Forrest took off running, according to Hay.

When he just 2 years old, Forrest broke free on the farm.

"You'd think that's why he got his name," Hay said.

King, a 31-year-old Andersonville resident, said she heard the click clack of the horse's gallop up Wells as she was riding her bike.

She thought it was likely a horse pulling a carriage, until she saw the northbound Forrest Gump coming right at her on Wells Street with a black Mercedes following the horse in reverse.

The horse was running straight for the busy intersection of North Avenue, so King expected the worst.

"I was shocked," she said. "I cut the video before I started swearing. I thought [the horse] was going to get hit. I thought there was going to be an accident."

King said the horse looked panicked.

"I wasn’t scared so much for my own — I didn’t think the horse was going to charge toward me. But it was frightening in general to see a horse look kind of panicked, and probably very confused, charging through Old Town," she said. 

Hay said a man who was walking in Old Town caught the horse, and when police, animal control and Antique Coach and Carriage staff showed up, he was holding the animal near Orleans Street and North Avenue.

"Everything is fine, not a scratch on the horse," Hay said.

The escape occurred exactly one year to the day after a group horses escaped from the same stable in Old Town.

On Dec. 19, 2012, at about the same time as Thursday's escape, 10 horses broke free and made it into the alley in the 1300 block of North Sedgwick Street, according to police.

In that case, police corralled the horses by blocking the exits of a side street and herded them back into their pen, a grassy patch of land on Sedgwick Street.