Skip to comments.Ingenuity, plywood and sweat save horse stuck in a Northland swamp
Posted on 05/22/2012 9:22:44 AM PDT by DManA
After hours of struggling to free a beloved horse from the mud, Julie Sedin was out of options when she called 911 in desperation Thursday evening.
The St. Louis County Search and Rescue Squad is dedicated to helping recover people from dangerous situations, but occasionally the volunteer crew agrees to broaden its mission to include equines in distress.
Teddy, a 20-plus-year-old Tennessee walker, had strayed out of Sedins Midway Township pasture and into a nearby spruce bog, where he sank to his hips in the muck and became ensnarled in the roots of a tree.
After discovering the horse around 5:30 p.m., Sedin tried to pull him from the quagmire using a tractor, but the machine, too, got stuck.
She was at a loss for what to do next after three hours of unsuccessful efforts involving cargo straps, ropes and a winch.
Im a 110-pound woman. I cant lift a 1,000-pound horse, Sedin said.
She called in reinforcements, including her father, her son-in-law and a veterinarian, all to no avail.
Fearing the worst, Sedin sent for her ex-husband, David, who is very attached to the horse.
After all the effort wed exerted, I figured this was coming down to a life-or-death decision, and I wanted David to be able to say goodbye, Sedin said.
But she still was having trouble coming to terms with the idea of putting Teddy down.
I didnt want to shoot him in a hole. Teddy didnt deserve that, Sedin said.
She called 911, explained her predicament and asked if anyone at all could help her.
Meanwhile, members of the St. Louis County Rescue Squad were gathered for a monthly meeting.
It happened to be our meeting night, and a deputy called and asked if we would be willing to lend a hand, recalled Capt. Tom Crossmon. The answer was Yes, and a contingent of 15 to 20 rescue squad members quickly mobilized.
He was stuck in there pretty good, said Lt. Rick Slatten, a squad member, remembering the scene.
With the help of an 18-inch wide sling, a tree and a winch system, volunteers were able to extricate Teddy from the roots and mud where he had been trapped for hours. But they werent in the clear yet, Slatten said.
Every time he tried to stand up, his legs went through again, he said.
After attempts to guide the horse out of the bog on his own hooves proved impractical, the rescue squad decided to switch tactics. A handful of members left briefly to fetch several sheets of plywood.
Upon their return, squad members worked one of the 4- by 8-foot sheets under Teddy. With the exhausted animal lying on his side, Slatten and his colleagues collectively pushed Teddy from one piece of plywood to another, shuffling the sheets forward in leap-frog fashion.
Slatten estimates the crew moved the horse about 150 to 200 feet to safety in this fashion.
There were a lot of muddy, tired guys by the end, he said.
Sedin brought her five other horses down to visit Teddy and offer him encouragement, as she put it.
Teddy struggled to stand, and Slatten recalls that when the horse succeeded: Most everyone broke into applause. It was kind of a magic moment.
Slatten said the squad remains dedicated to its human rescue mission and generally doesnt aim to branch out. But he said members recognized Sedin needed help. She had tried everything she could think of, and we were there.
By the time Teddy was back on firm ground, it was already well past midnight. Rescue members carefully cleaned mud from their equipment before stowing it away. Slatten said he finally got home and hit the sheets by about 3 a.m. Friday.
Sedin said she didnt have the words to express her thanks to Slatten and all his fellow volunteers.
This group of guys wouldnt quit. They never gave up, and neither did the horse. They were just awesome, she said.
Picture of the horse and lady at the link.
Wonderful story. Thanks to the men and women who helped rescue the horse.
How lucky was it the Rescue Squad just happened to be meeting when the call came in.
Good grief!!! What a wonderful story.
I generally approve of rescue squads getting practice like this. It lets them exersize their equipment and skillsets, and there isn't the pressure of a human needing rescue. Good training, and good for the guys.
I struggle to remember having owned or been around a “really” smart horse. The attachment escapes me and I have owned several over the years but never again. They will ruin a pasture and eat three times as much as a cow.
Not a horse but we had a cow wander off into a pile of drying muck from cleaning the pond. I don’t see how it got in so far before falling through. We had to trench to it with the trackhoe then lift the thing out. Next one like that just dies or gets shot and gets buried.
Horses can be really smart and really dumb, all at the same time.
Cows and pigs are far smarter .. there’s a reason you can’t have horses in a field with square corners to the fencing ,, the corners always have to be rounded ... stupid horses will run the fenceline and won’t make the turn unless the fence turns gently to guide them..
He is trained in dressage and is for sale in Russia.
This particular breed is known for their intelligence and ability to interact closely with people. If the horse doesn't like you, however, too bad.