KUNA — After a Kuna resident’s horse almost died in an incident involving a sinkhole, the Ada County Department of Parks and Waterways has closed off trails deemed dangerous for use at the Hubbard Reservoir recreation area.

“We have posted additional signage,” said Scott Koberg, director of Parks and Waterways. “It was an atypical thing that happened.”

Kuna resident Jodie Perkins contacted the Kuna Melba News after she and her horse fell deep into a sinkhole while riding a trail at the Hubbard Reservoir on March 12.

Perkins has owned her horse, Sysco, since it was a foal and had used the trails near her house many times, she said.

“Taking the trail, one that I’ve been on many times slightly covered in water, no big deal right?” Perkins wrote on her Facebook page. “Wrong! The ground was saturated with water so much that it acted much like quicksand and literally sucked us down.”

Perkins said she was able to free herself and then tried to free Sysco.

“It was up to my armpits,” Perkins said. “Luckily some nearby neighbors saw me go down and rushed out.”

After struggling for an hour, Perkins said she and her neighbors were able to free Sysco from the mud. Perkins said her horse was on the ground for a long time, and she thought he was going to die.

“His lips were gray, and his eyes were cloudy,” Perkins said. “I held his head up and prayed. I really thought he was going to cross the rainbow bridge.”

Perkins said she was elated when he started to breathe normally and was able to walk home.

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Perkins posted a bright pink sign warning her neighbors and fellow hikers about the dangerous trails.

“We actually left her sign up on the posting board,” Koberg said. “We usually don’t do that, but it’s very bright and I believe some people may listen to it better.”

Koberg said the Hubbard Reservoir was formed over 100 years ago by the Hubbard family. The area was originally meant to be a man-made lake like Lake Lowell in Nampa. But the desert ground was filled with cracks, so the reservoir never held enough water.

Koberg said his department was contacted by Perkins after the incident, and he asked employees to survey the park’s trails.

“There’s a lot more water this year,” Koberg said. “With the high snowfall, the water reservoirs are full. When Lucky Peak Reservoir discharges water downstream, it goes into the nearby rivers. It could account for the water in that area.”

Koberg said he’s never seen a sinkhole like the one Perkins photographed.

After surveying the trails on Friday, Koberg said multiple trails were deemed too dangerous and wet for recreation. Those areas have been barricaded until further notice.

On March 15, Perkins posted on her Facebook page that Sysco is doing much better after a visit by a veterinarian and a full body massage.

“Sysco continues to do awesome every day,” Perkins wrote. “I rode him yesterday, and he seems to be back to the normal. We are blessed.”

Danielle Wiley is the reporter for the Kuna Melba News. Contact her at 922-3008 or email her at editor@kunamelba.com

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