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Firefighters rescue horse from muddy trench on Oregon farm

Firefighters with Clackamas Fire, along with the help of Molalla Fire Dispatch, work to extract a horse from a muddy ditch on a local farm. (Photo Courtesy – Clackamas Fire)

Molalla, Ore. – Firefighters from multiple agencies helped rescue a horse stuck in a muddy trench on Friday in a rural area outside of Portland, Oregon.

According to Capt. Clinton Shaver with the Molalla Fire District, he and his crew were dispatched to a farm outside Molalla on Friday to help a horse after a call from a local veterinarian.

After arriving and assessing the situation, Shaver’s team contacted Clackamas Fire, who had firefighters trained in technical large animal rescue and had the proper rescue equipment.

“We learned the horse was in dire straights, so we bumped up the resource response,” Shaver told Equestrian Media Group by phone Saturday morning.

“The rescue went well– we don’t know what the final outcome was for the animal– she was pretty tired and had been in the water for several hours.”

After getting the horse out of the water, Shaver explained how crews and the veterinarian started working to actively warm the horse and provide some materials to the veterinarian and owner.

Shaver detailed that Clackamas Fire dispatched a heavy rescue truck and other resources, including a battalion chief.

Clackamas Fire stated on their Facebook page: “Heavy Rescue 305 and Truck 316 crews overcame a few obsticals [sic] and worked systematically to ensure the horse was not injured during the rescue. Well done by all members involved.”

“We donated some warm hot packs and fluids to the veterinarian and owner to assist,” Shaver explained.

Firefighters with Clackamas Fire, along with the help of Molalla Fire Dispatch, work to extract a horse from a muddy ditch on a local farm. (Photo Courtesy – MolallaFire Dispatch)

When Shaver was asked about their firefighters having technical large animal rescue training, he explained that the district previously had volunteers and equipment for such a purpose, but had issues with attrition and volunteer levels that contributed to the demise of those capabilities.

Shaver said the Molalla Fire Dispatch and his team are grateful for having a strong partnership with Clackamas Fire and for their assistance during on this rescue.

“We very much work to partner with agencies like Clackamas Fire Dispatch 1 and others to provide mutual support where we can,” said Shaver.

Shaver also detailed that due to the lack of individuals qualified for in large animal rescue, they gave their equipment to a non-profit horse rescue in the area that appeared to be more engaged in performing horse rescues.

However, he explained the device was never returned after the organization was dissolved, not long after they were given the equipment.

Clackamas Firefighters also regularly attend the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Courses hosted by the Oregon Horse Council. The training course is taught by world-renowned expert Dr. Rebecca Husted. The next 2-day awareness course is scheduled for April 20-21 in Hood River.

Equestrian Media Group has not yet been able to identify the veterinarian or owner involved in this rescue in order to learn more details about the horse’s current conditions.

We will update the story with more details as we learn them.

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