Firefighters cut horse out of lorry in dramatic rescue

  • A rider has praised the quick actions of vets and emergency services after her horse became trapped in her horsebox.

    Equo ambassador Ali Dane had just arrived at Summerhouse Equestrian Centre, Glos, on Wednesday (24 February) when the accident happened.

    She was entered to compete Miss Sandro, known as “Legs”, in the elementary restricted and the novice open at the venue’s British Dressage winter regionals.

    After parking up and checking the mare had travelled safely, she went to buy a cup of tea and watch her friend, vet Clare Smith, compete.

    Minutes later, she heard an announcement over the loud speaker that a horse was in distress.

    Ali told H&H that she dropped her drink on the floor and ran to her horsebox.

    Legs had tried to jump over a partition towards the living area of the four-horse lorry and was “completely stuck”.

    “As she is 17.3hh, there was not much space to move,” said Ali. “She was panicking quite a lot.”

    Bystanders in the lorry park had already called the fire service and Clare quickly grabbed some sedatives to give to the mare.

    Gloucester Fire and Rescue Service sent crews from Gloucester North and Gloucester South, including their large animal rescue team.

    “They were fantastic,” said Ali. “They completely sealed off the whole area so nobody could park nearby to keep it as quiet as possible.”

    Firefighters cut the partition to free the horse, who was wearing travel boots and bandages and escaped with superficial cuts and a haematoma.

    “I cannot imagine what would have happened had we not had that level of care from the fire service, who were trained in animal rescue,” added Ali.

    She added her partner is head of animal rescue at Surrey Fire and Rescue Service and was giving a presentation about government cuts at the time.

    Last year, H&H reported on how budget cuts to emergency services pose a welfare threat to horses (news, 5 February 2015).

    “People do not realise how threatened the animal rescue services actually are,” she said.

    Ali and Legs stayed at Adam Kemps’ Gloucestershire yard that night before travelling back to her South Oxfordshire yard the following day.

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    “The majority of our large animal rescues used to be carried out with rope loops, fire hose and crew power, which did not offer protection for our firefighters,” chief fire officer Stewart Edgar told H&H.

    “Thanks to our specialist equipment and in-house training, firefighters at our Gloucester North Station and across the county have been specially trained to carry out large animal rescues making the rescue easier for the animal and safer for the crews involved.”

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