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No horsing around with difficult rescue
Friday 20 May 2016 – 12:00 PM

It took many hands, some creative thinking and a great deal of effort to rescue a 500 kilogram horse that had become mired in a boggy dam on Victoria Road, Kenwick earlier this month.  

The horse, Zed, had wandered over a recently fallen down fence and made his way over to the dam where he then became stuck up to his neck in the clay-like soil.

Once the trapped animal was reported, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services assembled a diverse team to undertake the rescue, including Fire and Rescue Service firefighters from the Perth and Maddington Stations, State Emergency Service (SES) Mounted Section volunteers, and an Urban Search and Rescue Officer. Local rangers and neighbours were also keen to pitch in and help.

Perth District Officer Mel Cooper said it was a great team effort in tackling an unusual situation.

“When the Maddington crew arrived the horse was exhausted and in shock,” Mel said.

“Diane Bennit from the WA Horse Council provided the Maddington crew with some technical advice over the phone and we also called on a vet to assess the horse before we tried to free it.

“Once we determined the best way to go about things firefighters dug around the horse and used water to loosen the mud.

“We then used hoses and long lines to make slings around it and we used a sideways drag technique similar to the Hampshire Skid technique developed in the UK, to manually haul the horse sideways out of the mud.

“We pulled the horse clear of the muddy area as far as practicable, and used another rescue technique involving the hoses in order to flip it over which assisted it to its feet.”

The rescue effort took around two hours to successfully free the horse.

Mel credited the rescue to the skills and knowledge of those involved, as well as everyone’s willingness to muck in and put their back into it.

“The SES Mounted Section volunteers have a wealth of horse knowledge and those who attended had recently completed the WA Horse Council large animal rescue training – their skills were put to good use with this rescue.”

A day after the incident Zed was faring well and was being monitored for any potential health issues.​