Horses run against traffic about noon Tuesday in the eastbound...

Horses run against traffic about noon Tuesday in the eastbound lanes of the Long Island Expressway in Riverhead. (June 22, 2010) Credit: Wayne McCann / Harmonious Images

Suffolk County sheriff's deputies, Riverhead police and state highway workers rounded up a rambunctious bunch of horses Tuesday after the animals stopped traffic in the eastbound lanes of the Long Island Expressway at Exit 73 for nearly an hour.

Mike Sharkey, chief of staff for the sheriff's office, said a call came in about 12:44 p.m. that seven horses had gotten loose from Abbess Farms on Route 25 in Calverton and wandered over to the Expressway.

Wayne McCann, a photographer from Sea Cliff, was riding in a car on the highway when he saw the horses. McCann said the horses were heading west in the eastbound lane, near the center guardrail. One horse, which appeared to be leading the others, was on the grassy median, McCann said.

"Several cars had pulled over with people trying to assist until the police got there," McCann said. Those people seemed to calm the horses at least twice, but the horses got spooked and began running back and forth.

After authorities arrived, the horses were rounded up without incident and the owner of the farm was called, Sharkey said.

At one point, a horse tried to jump a guardrail and tumbled onto the median, McCann said. The horse's right foreleg was scraped and bleeding, he said. Neither he nor Sharkey could elaborate on the injury.

The farm owner could not be reached for comment.

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