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Mare and gelding stuck in mud for 18 hours following landslide

A horse and pony who were stuck up to their chests in mud for up to 18 hours following a landslide are recovering following their “dramatic” rescue.

The owners found the mare, and a pony in his 20s stuck on 28 January in Salinas, Monterey County, California, which had been hit by severe rainfall and flash flood warnings. 

A spokesman for SPCA Monterey County, a welfare charity that assisted in the rescue, told H&H the area had experienced a “debris flow” the previous night, which had destroyed the fencing of the pasture where the mare and gelding were kept.

“We believe they wandered out after the fences were gone, and then became stuck in the mud. They were both stuck up to their chests in the mud and could not have escaped on their own,” he said. 

“When the owners found the horses, they immediately flagged down passing fire departments and contacted SPCA Monterey County for help.”

A multi-agency rescue took place lasting around two hours with crews from Hayward, Oakland, Alameda County and Fremont, Marina and Fresno fire departments, the Monterey County Regional Fire District and the Monterey County Public Works. 

A spokesman for Fremont Fire Department described the rescue as a “well-coordinated and cautious effort”. 

The SPCA Monterey County spokesman said the horse and pony were brought to the charity for care but they were transported to Steinbeck County Equine Clinic for treatment for dehydration and hypothermia. In an update on 29 January the charity reported the horse and pony are “recovering”.

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“They are both eating and drinking and their shivering has subsided. Our good friends at Steinbeck County Equine Clinic are keeping a close eye on their recovery from this trauma,” said the spokesman.

“We thank all the first responders who performed this amazing rescue. We also thank the kind neighbours who responded with shovels and other tools to help.”

In an update today (1 February) the charity said the mare was released yesterday and it is hoped the pony will be released soon. 

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