Horse rescued in Fallowfield
By Rick Bruni Jr.
Published: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 12:06 a.m.
A horse is a horse … unless it's nearly three decades old, weighs more than a ton and cannot get up under its own power.
That's the situation Fallowfield Township volunteer firefighters faced for nearly six hours Thursday morning before they and members of the Washington County Animal Response Team were able to finally get Casey, a 29-year old female Belgian Draft horse, back onto her feet at her 90 Debnar Lane home.
Fallowfield Township Fire Chief Anthony Fleming said rescue workers were able to cradle the horse with straps and pull her from the 10-by-20 foot stable using a rope and pulley system.
The horse is retired and “living out her life,” Fleming said. Casey's age is fairly old for her breed, said Fleming who received the call around 5:40 a.m.
“The gist of it is that the horse weighed over 2,000 pounds and a horse that size can't lay for that long,” Fleming said. “Long story short, the horse lays down for too long and that cuts off the circulation in its legs. You have to be careful not to harm the animal and you're not as aggressive as you would normally be (with human rescues).”
The horse's owner, Laura Gilbert, did not return a message left with a relative Thursday evening.
A veterinarian, identified only as “Jennifer,” was on scene to relax the animal and administer sedatives, he said.
“The horse was resisting and that was the most difficult part,” Flemming said. “You try to keep her calm as far as not hurting herself.”
Slippery conditions from ice and snow both helped and hindered the effort, Flemming said.
“We were able to drag the horse about 20 feet,” he said. “It hurt us with traction, but once we got her out onto the ice, she slid more easily.”
The team was finally able to secure Casey and get her to stand on her own in a pile of packed snow and hay. Casey was soon rewarded with a bucket of feed for her efforts.
“She was laying on her left, and when we were able to roll her to her right side, and she actually got up on her front legs,” he said. “Thirty seconds later we helped her up onto her back legs and stayed with her for about 20 minutes.
“It would be no different than a human who just took a hit in football,” he added. “Once they're OK, they're OK.”
Fleming and some of his fellow firefighters have become quasi-experts on equine rescue.
“We've taken classes on how to handle the animal and learn their body language,” he said. “We actually had one here in Fallowfield about three years ago the county put on for us. In the past two years, we've done about four or five (horse rescues). To be honest, this is pretty much par for the course around here.”
It was also the second time Fallowfield firefighters responded to help Casey, following a similar situation last June.
“We were actually able to get her up quicker this time. From what the owner told us, we should expect to be back,” Fleming said with a laugh. “We're better equipped than we were in the past and the gratitude of the owners is enough for us. In no way do we see it as time wasted.”
“We're not prejudiced against who our customers are.”
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 724-684-2635.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Bellmar High School alumni share special bond
- Grant helps Belle Vernon teacher build collection of Civil War artifacts
- Brownsville Area senior wins major honor at state farm show
- Electric heater blamed for Charleroi house fire