When a teenage girl and her horse tumbled off a footbridge and into a muddy stream in Hanover, the girl was uninjured, but rescuers faced a tough task in wrestling the 1,000-pound horse from the muck and brush that trapped it, the fire department said.
Firefighters responded at about 6 p.m. Wednesday to a report of a horse stuck in the mud near a small footbridge along a wooded trail between Stone Meadow Lane and the back of Hanover Middle School on Whiting Street, said Hanover Fire Captain Barbara Stone.
Kelseigh Dyer, 15, of Hanover was out riding with a friend when they came to the footbridge around 5:30 p.m., Stone said. Cabot, the 8-year-old Morgan Dyer was riding, was skittish.
The horse "didn’t really want to go over" the footbridge, Stone said.
As the horse continued onto the footbridge, which is a few inches above the water and has no rails, one of its hoofs went through the edge of a plank, Stone said. The horse ended up trapped in brush and lying in foot-deep mud.
Dyer dismounted the horse and removed its saddle and other gear before firefighters and the Plymouth County Technical Rescue Team arrived, Stone said.
“She did a good job and kept the horse nice and calm,” Stone said.
Firefighters and rescue team personnel, who were knee-deep in the mud, had to work around slippery rocks and a large animal that could kick at any time.
“But they were able to calm him down and talk to him, and that made a big difference,” Stone said.
They cut the brush away from the horse, and a couple of rescuers who stood at the head of the horse and several at its rear used a sling to help it get up on all fours. They coaxed it out of the water and back onto the trail within 45 minutes, Stone said.
A veterinarian evaluated the horse, which was hypothermic and sustained some bumps and bruises, and walked it to its stable about two miles away, Stone said.
“Everyone is fine this morning, which is the best part of the story,” she said. “It was a really good outcome.”
The footbridge may need a plank replaced, she added.
Wednesday’s horse rescue was the second to take place locally within the past three weeks, following the rescue of a horse that fell through the cover into a residential swimming pool in Marshfield in mid-March, according to the Marshfield Fire Department.
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