On a cold and windy Saturday, the West Grove Fire Company was dispatched to Pusey Mill Road in Penn Township to assist with rescuing a horse trapped in the mud. The farmer had discovered the horse on its side, stuck in very deep mud and muck from the recent rains. While it wasn't clear how long the horse had been there on its side and struggling, the assumption was that it had been there for several hours.
Rescue 22, Ladder 22, Brush 22, Utility 22, Engine 22-3, and the WGFC ambulances responded to the scene. Chief 22 added the Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company (Station 36) out of Unionville, as they have a regional animal rescue trailer equipped for these kinds of emergencies.
Arriving units found a horse lying on its side in the mud, shivering in the cold conditions, and unable to get itself to its feet under its own power. More than 20 firefighters worked to support this operation with hay used in an attempt to provide stable footing. On arrival of Utility 36 and Rescue 36, special animal slings were added to ropes being used by the WGFC crews. The horse was first dragged out of the muddy area to more stable ground, then teams made multiple attempts to get the horse on its own legs -- which ultimately happened after nearly an hour of effort (assisted by local farmers and a veterinarian).
The horse was hosed down, dried and put under blankets. The horse was eating and resting upon the departure of WGFC and Station 36 crews, after about two hours on scene.
Our thanks to the Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company of Unionville for their assistance on this call.