Nov Bucket Fund Donation Receipt! And, QUICKSAND!… Stay Calm.

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 | Filed under Handy Tips

First of all, I wanted to say that YOU READERS ARE WONDERFUL and we are now Benefactors in helping the previously gathered Wild Horses and Burros from DreamCatcher Sanctuary run free!  This is the most the HORSE AND MAN GROUP has ever collected and I am very grateful to you all!  Bravo!

The Wild Horse and Burro Donor Gift Certificates are available throughout December so you can keep giving (with a bonus!) to DreamCatcher (or Tullie, Dixie, or Gump) if you missed the November cut off.


Click to enlarge


I was forwarded a story of a horse who was caught in quicksand…  It turned out OK but it really made me think.  I know that I have crossed dicey forested areas before.  And, I know I’ve been lucky when I’ve come across boggy parts.  The thought of quicksand kinda terrifies me.  So, when I saw the below (at the end) photos, I decided to learn a bit about quicksand.

First of all, quicksand is usually around RIVERBANKS, BEACHES, LAKE SHORES, UNDERGROUND SPRINGS (If you know where they are…) and MARSHES.  But, I need to tell you to be very careful in forests at low points.  This is where the rainwater catches and dissolves the dirt which then allows the underground springs (which are closer to the surface  here) to rise and meet the groundwater causing quicksand or boggy conditions.  However, it can happen in fields as well.

Be careful.


I read that if you relax, stop struggling and calm yourself, you can work your way out.  The idea is to use your arm to pull your leg above water- very slowly.  Basically, you CAN float in quicksand if you spread out your density.  So, do your best to spread out your arms and legs.  Try to lean back and see if you start to float – or if your arms and legs rise.  You want to stay out of the vacuum your arms and legs create as they move.  So, move very slowly so the mud fills in the space and doesn’t suck you back.  Then, crawl along the surface.  This video helps you see how to do that.

CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO on how to crawl out of quicksand.

Also, I wanted to note that the rider whose horse was stuck (below article) said that her horse was using his nose to dig his limbs out of the mud.  Very smart horse.  Mother Nature at work again!


I found this article and I decided to just cut and paste it because it was so informative. (by Kevin Bonsor)

“Quicksand is an interesting natural phenomenon — it is actually solid ground that has been liquefied by a saturation of water. The “quick” refers to how easily the sand shifts when in this semiliquid state.
Quicksand is not a unique type of soil; it is usually just sand or another type of grainy soil. Quicksand is nothing more than a soupy mixture of sand and water. It can occur anywhere under the right conditions, according to Denise Dumouchelle, geologist with the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Quicksand is created when water saturates an area of loose sand and the ordinary sand is agitated. When the water trapped in the batch of sand can’t escape, it creates liquefied soil that can no longer support weight. There are two ways in which sand can become agitated enough to create quicksand:
•    Flowing underground water – The force of the upward water flow opposes the force of gravity, causing the granules of sand to be more buoyant.
•    Earthquakes – The force of the shaking ground can increase the pressure of shallow groundwater, which liquefies sand and silt deposits. The liquefied surface loses strength, causing buildings or other objects on that surface to sink or fall over.
Vibration tends to enhance the quickness, so what is reasonably solid initially may become soft and then quick, according to Dr. Larry Barron of the New South Wales Geological Survey.
The vibration plus the water barrier reduces the friction between the sand particles and causes the sand to behave like a liquid. To understand quicksand, you have to understand the process of liquefaction. When soil liquefies, as with quicksand, it loses strength and behaves like a viscous liquid rather than a solid, according to the Utah Geological Survey. Liquefaction can cause buildings to sink significantly during earthquakes.
While quicksand can occur in almost any location where water is present, there are certain locations where it’s more prevalent. Places where quicksand is most likely to occur include:
•    Riverbanks
•    Beaches
•    Lake shorelines
•    Near underground springs
•    Marshes
The next time you’re at the beach, notice the difference in the sand as you stand on different parts of the beach that have varying levels of moisture. If you stand on the driest part of the beach, the sand holds you up just fine. The friction between the sand particles creates a stable surface to stand on.
If you move closer to the water, you’ll notice that the sand that is moderately wet is even more tightly packed than the dry sand. A moderate amount of water creates the capillary attraction that allows sand particles to clump together. This is what allows you to build sand castles.
But beach sand could easily become quicksand if enough water were thrust up through it. If an excessive amount of water flows through the sand, it forces the sand particles apart. This separation of particles causes the ground to loosen, and any mass on the sand will begin to sink through it. In the next section, you will find out how to save yourself if you happen to fall into a pit of quicksand.
If you ever find yourself in a pit of quicksand, don’t worry — it’s not going to swallow you whole, and it’s not as hard to escape from as you might think.
The human body has a density of 62.4 pounds per cubic foot (1 g/cm3) and is able to float on water. Quicksand is denser than water — it has a density of about 125 pounds per cubic foot (2 g/cm3) — which means you can float more easily on quicksand than on water. The key is to not panic. Most people who drown in quicksand, or any liquid for that matter, are usually those who panic and begin flailing their arms and legs.
It may be possible to drown in quicksand if you were to fall in over your head and couldn’t get your head back above the surface, although it’s rare for quicksand to be that deep. Most likely, if you fall in, you will float to the surface. However, the sand-to-water ratio of quicksand can vary, causing some quicksand to be less buoyant.
“By the same token, if the quicksand were deep, as in up to your waist, it would be very difficult to extract yourself from a dense slurry, not unlike very wet concrete,” said Rick Wooten, senior geologist for Engineering Geology and Geohazards for the North Carolina Geological Survey. “The weight of the quicksand would certainly make it difficult to move if you were in above your knees.”
The worst thing to do is to thrash around in the sand and move your arms and legs through the mixture. You will only succeed in forcing yourself farther down into the liquid sandpit. The best thing to do is to make slow movements and bring yourself to the surface, then just lie back. You’ll float to a safe level.
“When someone steps in the quicksand, their weight causes them to sink, just as they would if they stepped in a pond,” Dumouchelle said. “If they struggle, they’ll tend to sink. But, if they relax and try to lay on their back, they can usually float and paddle to safety.”
When you try pulling your leg out of quicksand, you are working against a vacuum left behind by the movement, according to The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook. The authors of the book advise you to move as slowly as possible in order to reduce viscosity. Also, try spreading your arms and legs far apart and leaning over to increase your surface area, which should allow you to float.
While quicksand remains the hackneyed convention of bad adventure movies, there’s very little to be afraid of in real life. As long as you keep a cool head in the situation, the worst result will be a shoe full of wet sand.
With quicksand, the more you struggle in it the faster you will sink. If you just relax, your body will float in it because your body is less dense than the quicksand.”


I found this story in the Equestrian Journal linked here under November 28th.

This is a long story so I am going to put some details here and you can click above to read the entire article.  I’m just glad it worked out OK for them.  I would have been frantic!  Hopefully, we will all learn:

–calm or drug the animal so that his limbs quit moving quickly

–act quickly as exhaustion is your enemy

–get a lot of people who can pull…

–when help arrives, get the animal’s legs on the surface and as spread out as possible

–get a tarp to put near the animal so he can lay on it and not sink again

–have someone bring a blanket for the exhausted and wet horse

–carry ACE in your saddlepack

–only go where there is cell phone coverage – don’t go where you cannot describe where you are!

–don’t walk your horse over boggy ground, even if you don’t sink


Owner was walking Ozzy in a low area of the woods. She was fine, he sunk.

Ozzy looks stressed but he was actually 'smiling', a trick he learned...

The owner said Ozzy was trying to dig out his legs with his head. Smart.

The firemen arrive but they don't know what to do!

They use their shovels to dig...

One leg is out... they take a break and try to decide how to help him stay out.

Two legs out and the firefighters run to get a tarp.


Ozzy is cold and tired. A friend brought a blanket.

After several attempts, the exhausted Ozzy makes one last effort!

He immediately collapses on the hard ground, not on the tarp.

Owner stands on his neck to keep him down as the vet checks his legs

Ozzy looks OK and is exhausted. He finally stands...

They help the shaky horse make it back up the hill

Everyone is elated as Ozzy climbs out

My favorite photo of all. Everyone is safe. Looking back at ALL THE HELP that came to rescue a horse... As the firefighter said, "Go Big or Go Home". Good to know...

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

2 comments have been posted...

  1. Dom

    I wanted to mention a few things:
    -It was not that I couldn’t describe where I was. I gave street names, landmarks, and detailed directions. I even provided GPS coordinates. The DISPATCHER didn’t understand where I was and didn’t hit the button to track my phone. Erin had no problem finding me and even the fire dept. said the dispatcher was terrible.
    -Ozzy did not struggle in the entire time we waited for help to arrive. He sat rather quietly through the rescue, both before he was aced and after the tranq wore off.
    -We only gave Oz about half a cc of Ace. I think tranqing him was actually a mistake as it kept him from freeing himself sooner.
    -He was completely sober by the time we got him out. The rescue took about three hours. The Ace was gone about half an hour in.
    -It was my friend who brought the blanket and covered my horse.
    -He wasn’t being held down to prevent him from rising. He was too tired to get up and we were letting him catch his breath.
    -The photo of him ‘struggling’ is actually him ‘smiling’ a trick that he does on command and whenever he’s bored or frustrated.

    Just thought I’d set the record straight before we get another article on how I was riding my horse through a lava-filled ravine and was too hysterical to call for help so the navy seals found me a week later and miraculously teleported me to safety.

  2. RT

    There was a horse here in Oklahoma that got into quicksand. They pulled him out by his tail. The vet sedated him and they were able to get ahold of it and pluck him out. I was told by another vet that its safe to do as they do that in some surgeries as when they pick the horse up by its tail the internal organs fall right into place. I dont mean they hoist them to the ceiling but you get my drift.. So the tail is stronger than we sometimes think. Amazes me….

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