Heavy rains in the area had caused the edge of the pond to become slippery, and Tom had apparently escaped from his paddock, walked too close to the edge and slid into the muddy water below. When deputies from the Sheriff’s office arrived, the caretakers had attempted to coax the massive horse out, but in spite of his efforts, the sucking mud held him fast.
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.