A Shire horse who had become stuck in her stable is “recovering well” after being rescued by firefighters.
Sixteen-year-old Tess was on box rest following a kick when she was found unable to stand last Saturday (27 August) morning.
Firefighters from West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service’s technical rescue unit were called to the yard at Sandwell Valley, West Bromwich, at 9.19am.
Using slings and specialised equipment, they were able to drag Tess from her stable where the vet and firemen tried to get her “dead” right hind leg to recover so she could stand.
“We don’t know whether she’d moved her bedding or got cast, but when the yard manager found her at 8am, she was lying on concrete,” explained owner Jackie Stokes.
“We’re not sure if she slipped getting up or just got tired but the leg she was lying on had gone dead — she was making efforts to get up but she couldn’t.”
The 3hr rescue operation concluded when firefighters moved Tess to a field where they were able to get her to her feet using a local farmer’s tractor.
“She’s such a lovely mare. The fireman and vet couldn’t believe how placid she was,” said Jackie.
“She even tucked her legs out of the way so they could get her through the door.”
Jackie acknowledged that without the intervention of the fire brigade there was no doubt that the “worst would have happened”.
“The firemen were brilliant with her. When she got to her feet, the vet said to start walking her round a few steps, stop and walk her a few more steps and they were walking at the back with her all the way,” she said.
“The whole thing was amazing, it was like a military operation.”
Jackie bought 17.2hh Tess in March for her 15-year-old daughter Amy, who at 6ft tall had outgrown her 14.2hh pony.
“We weren’t looking for anything like Tess but she was the first horse we went to see and we fell in love,” said Jackie.
“My daughter has epilepsy so the horse she rides has to be safe, and I really trust her.”
There were fears Tess could suffer with fluid on her lungs after her lengthy ordeal but she has recovered well, escaping with minor cuts and bruises.
But Jackie has vowed not to keep Tess stabled again.
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“She’d had a small kick and got cellulitis so on the vet’s advice we’d kept her in as she was worried that with a swollen leg she might get picked on in the field,” said Jackie. “If she needs box rest again then we have a small paddock I can put her in.”
The rescue operation was broadcast live on social media by West Midlands Fire and Rescue, and more than 100,000 people have viewed the footage.
“It’s something we’ve been doing lately to get information to the community. It’s a brilliant way of showing wide variety of work we do,” a spokesman said.