On the Morning of Wednesday, November 18, the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana received an unusual call. Caretakers at a farm in the town of Haughton had discovered one the horses stuck in a pond on the property. And this wasn’t just any horse. This was a Tom, a Percheron horse used for equine therapy for children and adults. The impressive draft horse is reported to weigh 2,500 pounds.
The deputies continued to try to help Tom to firmer footing, but the effort would require more manpower, and firefighters from the East 80 Fire District #1 were called.
“The fire department, we could have never done it without them,” says Deputy Keith Plunkett, one of the first responders on the scene. “We kept the horse’s head above the water until they got there. It was really a concerted effort for all of us.”
The horse was pulled out of the pond by emergency responders. Photo via KSLA
In the meantime, the horse’s owner had been called at work, and she rushed home to help save her beloved horse.
“She was dressed for work, wearing a dress and nice shoes,” says Plunkett. “As soon as she got there, she tore her shoes off and went straight into the water to try and help. It was clear she really, really loved and cared about this horse.”
Despite all of the help, the mud still held Tom down, and the horse was becoming more and more exhausted by the minute. Ultimately, firefighter Lee Hedgepeth waded into the pond and was able to wrap straps around the horse’s body behind his front legs. Using a tractor, the team was able to finally pull Tom up and on to dry ground.
Plunkett reports that Tom made it through the ordeal with no injuries. “There was a vet on scene who examined him once he was out,” he says. “He was exhausted, but otherwise he was just fine.”
Pulling a one-ton animal out of the mud is an unusual occurrence, but all in a day’s work for emergency responders. “We do this type of thing [animal rescue] all the time. We take care of everything. But this was definitely the biggest animal I’ve dealt with,” says Plunkett.
See more photos from the rescue effort on the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office Facebook page.
This isn’t the first time a horse has gotten himself stuck somewhere he shouldn’t really be. One horse owner in Colorado discovered her horse had managed to get herself trapped in the basement.
Even though these types of events happen fairly often and usually have happy outcomes, it’s important to know what to do if such a thing happens to one of your horses or if you come across another horse that’s stuck. Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue, Inc (TLAER) offers courses on what to do, and provides information on its blog, “The Horse 911: What’s Your Emergency?”
Do you have a story to tell about a trapped horse? Share it with us in the comments below.
Thank you to all the first responders that not only help us humans but our faithful companions
If more First Responders could be trained in Equine Rescue it would make incidents like this so much easier to handle. MSPCA offers a wonderful program (I’ve gone through it twice as a horse owner) that should be a model all around the country.