Rescue Team Frees Trapped Horse After Hours Of Digging

by Rebecca Landman
Rebecca is a writer living the Los Angeles dream. She loves hiking, music, and crocheting on her couch to the background lull of Netflix. She believes our world is complex. By sharing and listening to each other’s stories, we unpack that complexity layer by layer, learning more about who we are and how we want to live our lives. She writes to keep learning.

Earlier this week, an 8-year-old horse in New Zealand stumbled into a drainage ditch, becoming completely trapped and totally terrified.

He remained in the ditch overnight, waiting for someone to hopefully come and free him from his muddy confines.

By daybreak, his owners discovered him, and called a team of rescuers from Massey University Veterinary Emergency Response Team to help save this poor, struggling soul.

Rescue operations like these can be quite dangerous, as they generally trigger trapped animals‘ fight or flight reflexes.

As Hayley Squance, Programme Director of the Bachelor of Veterinary Technology and Associate Dean of Veterinary Programmes at Massey University, told LittleThings, “If they feel there is any inch of freedom they will try to escape.

Therefore, working in close confines with a 500kg animal who wants to escape poses great risk.”

Thankfully, her team was able to establish trust with this trapped horse, and give him the happy ending he deserved.

Scroll through below to see this amazing horse rescue in action!

[H/T: Horsetalk]

trapped horse

At the top of this week, a gorgeous horse, wandering the woods alone, fell into a seven-foot-deep ditch, completely terrified and utterly alone.

He lay in the ditch all night long, initially struggling for freedom, but eventually losing energy from intense dehydration.

trapped horse

By morning, his owners found him and called the Massey University Veterinary Emergency Response Team, urgently requesting a rescue mission.

This rescue posed a number of risks, first and foremost that the ditch’s extreme narrowness was pressing on the horse, making breathing a chore and movement nearly impossible.

This rescue team quickly enlisted help from the Horowhenua Rural Fire Force and Palmerston North’s Urban Search and Rescue to tackle this challenging task.

trapped horse

The rescue team dug for hours, doing everything they could to accommodate this poor creature.

Digging itself was quite stressful. Any faulty moves, and this team risked collapsing the ditch, and further smothering this horse in mud.

trapped horse

Moreover, rescues like these are rarely simple tasks.

Hayley Squance, Programme Director of the Bachelor of Veterinary Technology and Associate Dean of Veterinary Programmes at Massey University, told LittleThings: “Large animals technical rescue is a hazardous material response due to the dangerous nature of a trapped large animal.

“They are fight-flight animals so all they want to do is flee.”

rescue horse

How did Squance’s team manage this rescue mission’s high-risk level?

She told LittleThings: “This is why we heavily sedate the animal.

“We all wear helmets along with other personal protective equipment and anyone working close to a horse is in a harness with a rope attached to them, so they can be pulled out of the danger zone if the animal starts to react.”

trapped horse

How did this team know exactly how to act in this situation?

Squance told LittleThings, “Our team trains regularly for all different rescue scenarios (large and small animal including high-angle, swift water and tree rescues).

“Our team members have internationally recognized (Rescue 3) Animal Rescue Technician qualifications.”

trapped horse

“For large animal-rescue training, we have a horse size (250kg) rescue mannequin, which we use during our training exercises.

“Many of us work in the veterinary profession and have collectively for over 70 years, so we are using our veterinary and animal handling skills on a daily basis.”

These folks were certainly this scared horse’s best shot at survival, and absolutely followed through on their mission.

trapped horse

Despite terrifying circumstances, this rescue team trusted their training, and worked together to free this beautiful creature from these dangerous circumstances.

horse rescue

Luckily, this team was able to prove to this scared horse that they were only there to help, and slowly but surely ushered him out of the ditch.

Within 15 minutes of freedom, this horse was back on his feet, sauntering off toward recovery.

Healing from this trauma will take time, but at least this adorable creature showed positive signs that he will, eventually, be able to recover.

horse rescued

Thanks to patient and diligent care, the rescue team was able to free this trapped horse, enabling him to continue living a full and happy life.

What do you think of this amazing rescue? Let us know in the comments.

Please SHARE this incredible rescue story with animal lovers in your community!