In pictures: Dramatic moment horses are rescued from mud in Connecticut

Two horses are now safe and sound after this Connecticut community banded together to save the animals from thick, deep mud in a swamp

Amelia Neath
Monday 13 May 2024 16:43 BST
One of the horses rolled onto the sled, while mud-covered rescuers help to hoist the horse out of danger
One of the horses rolled onto the sled, while mud-covered rescuers help to hoist the horse out of danger (LVFD)

Two horses stuck in thick mud were rescued after efforts by 40 local rescuers in the community to save the distressed animals, one of which was stuck for over seven hours in the swamp.

Teamwork shone its best in the town of Lebanon, Connecticut, when a volunteer fire department teamed up with other various local services and a nearby farm, helping bring two horses in a sticky situation into safety, the Lebanon Fire Department wrote in a Facebook post.

At around 2pm on Saturday, a call was made to the Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department (LVFD) reporting that two horses that had wandered off from their pasture and became stuck in deep mud in a swampy area around three-quarters of a mile into the woods behind a farm.

Frank Himmelstein, owner and operator of Himmelstein Homestead Farm in Lebanon, told Fox 61 the rescue took place on his property, which allows the rescue organisation Stirrup Fun Stables Rescue, Inc to pasture their animals on the farm.

Over 40 rescuers from different units and agencies helped rescue the horses out of the muddy woods (LVFD)
One of the horses rolled onto the sled, while mud-covered rescuers helped to hoist the horse out of danger (LVFD)

Personnel from the LVFD responded to the scene but quickly realised this would necessitate the fire department to get involved as the horses were very large and the mud very deep.

Various units from the fire department set up a staging area and were assisted by a “Deuce and a Half” military cargo truck to shuttle equipment through a river and thick mud to the distressed horses.

Manpower was used to hoist the horses that were rolled onto a sled from the mud (LVFD)
One of the horses stuck deep in the mud as the team prepare to extract the animal (LVFD)

Along with the cargo vehicle, other vehicles, including a truck from the farm, ploughed into the mud to transport 40 people along with the necessary equipment needed for this operation.

The fire department’s units then created a makeshift bridge with unison logs, cribbing, plywood and signs so they could get the horses to flat land.

Rescue personnel used logs and other equipment to make a more stable path through the swampy woods (LVFD)
Plywood, logs, cribbing and sings were all used to create a makeshift bridge through the mud (LVFD)

The area was not accessible for some equipment, so it was all down to the manpower of the team of 40 to rescue the sunken horses from the mud, which was waist-deep on the rescuers.

When the Durham Animal Response Team (DART) arrived, they set up their sled equipment, with the goal of rolling the horses out of the deep mud and onto the sled device.

A cargo vehicle was used to ferry across equipment into the muddy woods (LVFD)
Creating the makeshift bridge (LVFD)

Once the animals were on the sled, all the rescuers then worked together to pull the animals over the makeshift bridge and onto the nearest flat ground around 30 yards from the swamp.

A rescue group from North Windham set up a dual rope system for the second horse, as it was considerably more stuck in the mud than the first.

Logs were used in the makeshift bridge (LVFD)
Lebanon Fire Department’s vehicle traversing through the mud (LVFD)

However, due to the sheer force of the manpower, the ropes were not used, and the second horse was brought to safety.

Starting just before 4.30pm, it took just over an hour to recover both horses, who were in mild distress, with one being stuck in the mud and water for over seven hours.

After being assessed by the vets, the two horses were standing and happy once again (LVFD)

After a total rescue time of five hours, the horses were assessed by a vet and within less than an hour of being rescued, both horses warmed up enough to stand, got up without issue “and were happily eating some fresh hay”.

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