The children were out doing their chores when they saw three horses running through our fields. That wouldn't be a big deal, except that we don't own any horses. It didn't take long and the owners came through looking for them. About 20 minutes later the owner came driving through the fields and crying for help. " Did we have shovels or a big tractor? Could we help him and his wife get two of their horses out of a giant mud pit in the back?" We ran and grabbed three shovels and a rope.
By the time we got back there, his wife had the pregnant mare out
Mark was working on getting the other horse out. The horses name is Red. Red was very calm and patient. He didn't struggle or get frantic. When he thought that there was an opportunity to get out he would make the attempt. Otherwise, he was quiet.
The kids and Mark were busy trying to dig the mud away. But as fast as they removed it it quickly oozed back. If Red was still for too long he would start to sink deeper.
About the time we got him almost out of the mud pit, Red decided that he really didn't want to go that way and spun around and ...
...went back out to the middle of the mud pit. Where is that much noted 'horse sense'? Why did he feel compelled to go out the same way he went in? He was ALMOST out and now he was realllllly stuck! It was time to call in the reinforcements.
I called Earl the Pearl who called the assistant fire chief. We didn't think that we could get away with dialing 911. Mark's brother was out there helping and other's were being contacted. Mark was exhausted and covered from head to toe in cold, oily mud. He was exhausted and shivering. Earl and the Asst Chief showed up and ideas were tossed around about how to extricate the horse. There was a backhoe nearby but there were a lot of trees in the way. Time to get all the neighbors involved.
Mark was suffering from hypothermia and so a squad was called. (If you think of him, pray for Mark as he was having some cardiac issues and was admitted at the hospital.) When the neighbors saw the ambulance they headed over to help with whatever the crises was. Did I mention that we have amazing neighbors?
Thomas kept digging, and he insisted that I take a picture. Just in case he wants to use it in a future campaign ad. (You know, I didn't just kiss babies, I rescued horses from mud pits) The mud was very sticky and black.
The mud is mixed with oil and is really nasty! You can hardly get it off.
|Charlie putting a belt under Red's belly.|
The horse was really getting tired and no longer was making periodic efforts to try and escape. In fact, holding his head up was getting challenging. It had been three hours that he had been stuck. My brother who is experienced with horses didn't think that he could last much more than two hours total in cold mud. Red's calmness probably saved him.
All the neighbors were now there. They had a chain saw and were cutting down trees and taking down vines so that the backhoe could get through. The back hoe was an old one and no longer had working brakes, and so operating on a slope was a real challenge.
The question was, how do we put the belt around the horse to pull him out. Three different ways were tried. First, they put it just behind the front legs, but it just pulled out as the horse got a little higher. Second they wrapped it around his chest and tried pulling that way. It just ended up choking him and he wasn't able to help escape. Finally, Charlie put the rope around his hind end just below his butt. By this time Red could no longer assist in getting out. He had been in the mud about 4.5 hours! They slowly pulled him out and Red was still until he had terra firma under his feet. Then he jumped up and was walking.
The photographer from the fire department was there taking pictures.
Red, who now looked black rather than red, was led out and a picture was taken of him with his very relieved owner. She asked Elizabeth to be in the picture with her as Elizabeth had worked very hard trying to remove the mud and help get the horse out. She had already showered and cleaned up in this picture. No sense having another person getting hypothermic.
Red calmly stopped to graze before he was led off to his stable. He had had enough adventure for one day!