Rider rescued after horse tumbles down snowy embankment in Newburyport state park

A quick-thinking police officer borrowed a neighbor’s snowmobile to reach a woman who was injured after her horse slipped on the ice and tumbled down an embankment at a state park in Newburyport, authorities said.

The 19-year-old rider, whose horse rolled over her, was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital after the rescue Saturday afternoon at Maudslay State Park by Newburyport police and firefighters and Newbury police.

She was treated and released the same day and is currently in good condition, said Lieutenant Mark Murray, a Newburyport police spokesman, today in a phone interview. He did not release her name.

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The injured rider’s 25-year-old friend, who was riding a second horse with her through the park, called for help at about 4:15 p.m. Saturday.

Rescuers faced two hurdles: first, locating the pair somewhere inside the park along the Merrimack River; and second, rescuing the rider from the bottom of the snowy embankment before sundown.

“It’s a very large, large park, so obviously getting out there was difficult,” Murray said. “And they were fighting the daylight.”

After the woman was located, Newburyport Police Officer Eric Marshall asked a neighbor if he could use the snowmobile to bring medical supplies to the victim.

When he reached the woman, “[Marshall] gave her some medical attention but realized it was going to be more difficult to get her out,” Murray said.

Newbury police were called to bring in their Argo all-terrain-vehicle.

“It looks like a tank with a bulldozer track, and it’s all enclosed, and you can get a stretcher in there,” Murray said.

The vehicle was able to drive down the embankment and come back up with the injured rider. From there, she was lifted into an ambulance and taken to the hospital, Murray said.

“She had leg injuries when it landed on her, but it could’ve been worse,” said Newburyport Fire Chief Christopher LeClaire. “She was cushioned by probably at least a good foot of snow.”

The rescue was completed by 5 p.m., about a half-hour before sundown.

“It was quick thinking on Officer Marshall’s part and a good job by all,” Murray said. The injured rider’s companion and the horses were uninjured.