Little Fork’s Volunteer Technical Large Animal Rescue Team recently rescued a horse from a 2nd story HAYLOFT! Who would you call?!

THIS is why the Bucket Fund has supported Large Animal Rescue teams…  who would you call if this happened to you?   Do you know your local response team?


This is a mare who was newly rescued … she got in a tussle with another horse and ended up running up the steps into the barn hayloft.  No horse had ever done this before.  In fact, this situation had never even occurred to anyone who had ever been to the barn.

Upon realizing that the new mare was UPSTAIRS, looking down at her, the rescue owner was horrified.  How could this have happened?  And, how was she going to lead the mare back down.

Below is the actual report.

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October 14, 2016 – At approximately 0640 hours Little Fork’s Volunteer Technical Large Animal Rescue Team was dispatched to assist with extricating a horse that was found in a hayloft the night before in Botetourt County Virginia. After several attempts with self-rescue the owner reached out on Facebook for help. A friend advised her about our group. Chief Monaco called the owner to obtain a size up of the situation. The evening before Phoenix and a new mare got into a tussle and Phoenix broke down the barrier to the stairs and escaped the scenario by going up into the loft. Phoenix is a six year old and suffers from COPD. Chief Monaco advised her that our team would activate and begin the three hour drive to her location. She was also asked to have a vet on scene when we arrived and to call the local animal control officer. The owner was placed in communication with Lieutenant Mainville (one of our Technicians). The Lieutenant became the liaison between the crew and the owner while enroute to the incident. Hourly updates were performed. The owner was advised to feed, water and even groom Phoenix to keep the scenario calm while the unit traveled to their location in Blue Ridge, Virginia. Upon arrival our crew performed a size up and decided to call for assistance from the local fire and rescue crews and animal control officers. The call was made and the vet arrived and was briefed on what was needed. Soon assistance arrived from the following organizations: 3 Botetourt County Animal Control Officers; 7 FF/EMS personal from Botetourt County Fire and Rescue and 3 FF’s from the Blue Ridge Volunteer Fire Company. It was decided to heavily sedate Phoenix, move him onto the rescue glide, then slide Phoenix and the glide down the steps and outside to safety. We set up the a two ton chain hoist by chaining it to one of the main posts that supported the building. A secondary safety system was rigged using a 4:1 rope and pulley system with safety prussics. This system was anchored to a different large structural post further back in the barn near the rear wall. Once the rigging was complete we performed a “dry run” of the system to be sure that it would work. Once everything was set up another concern was that Phoenix might slide off the rescue glide once on the stairway. He was estimated to weigh between 1200 to 1500 lbs. We rigged him to the board as best as possible using carabiners and webbing. We applied the rescue glide straps but due to his COPD could not tighten them down as tight as may be necessary. This proved to be the greatest challenge. The vet administered ketamine in a dosage that would be used for surgery. We could not take the chance of having Phoenix struggle during the rescue. Once heavily sedated the horse was moved onto the rescue glide and it was pulled to the head of the stairwell. This took some time and the vet advised that we needed to move quickly. It was decided to disconnect the chain hoist system and to use the rope system for lowering. We had four persons pulling the glide down the stairs, a safety officer, the incident commander and the rest of the crews operating the rope system. As Phoenix started down the stairs the hobbled legs were drawn towards his body and there was just enough room for him to slide down on his side. The front hoofs hung up partway down and as expected he slid down near the bottom of the board but did not come off of it. The hooves were freed and the descent continued. At the bottom he was turned on his back for a short amount of time so that he could be pulled through the doorway and outside to safety. Once outside the rigging and equipment were removed and he tried to stand. He stumbled around and fell to the ground in respiratory arrest. The vet performed an emergency tracheotomy. Phoenix began to breath again and was eventually moved back inside. We are happy to report that he is OK and that the trach tube was removed today!! We retrieved our gear and began the three hour ride back home. We arrived back at 1900 hours. We would like to express a heartfelt thank you to the named agencies and to the owners who did everything that was asked. This was an extremely unique extrication that was a complete success. We are 100 perecnt volunteer and operate from donations If you would like to donate to our team please go to…

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AND NOW THIS… Poor Mini Florence is heavily pregnant and heaving horribly.

Now we have this video that shows Mini mare Florence, who is heavily pregnant, heaving.  She needs immediate care for her heaves and corneal infections.

All donations are 100% deductible!  Click here to donate!

Click here to watch the video.  (Turn up your volume)

Click image to watch the video of Florence. (Turn up the volume.)

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3 comments have been posted...

  1. Rachel G.

    Botetourt County pronounced BOT-?-tot, is in my neck of the woods! How many of us have stairs in our barns? Very common building practice here in the Mid-Atlantic region. Right when you think you’ve seen it all, you see even more!

  2. Laurie

    Dawn this is a amazing story…absolutely amazing.
    How he got up there without getting hurt on those stairs…wow.
    The pictures were outstanding.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Thank you Little Forks rescue team.

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