SPRING LAKE PARK, Minn. - Monday is traditionally training night for the firefighters that make up the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View combined department.
But this Monday the learning curve was a bit steeper, and there was something hanging in the balance.
A handful of firefighters were in the middle of their weekly session shortly before 8 p.m. when they received a call of a horse that was stuck. Spring Lake Park training officer Bob Fiske and a half dozen others jumped aboard a couple of engines and hustled to the scene.
What they found was a 2,000 pound Clydesdale who had apparently busted through an electric fence to join some of his horse cronies. Unfortunately, the Clydesdale plunged into a draining ditch before reaching his buddies and became stuck up to his shoulders in thick, black mud. He had struggled for hours to get out, and was thoroughly exhausted.
Fiske and his crew lit the scene so rescuers could see, and then started the effort to get a tow strap underneath the horse's stomach... no easy task with the thick mud burying him. With the assistance of the Anoka County Special Rescue Team they used a bucket on the horse owner's tractor and ladders on the fire engines to create a makeshift pulley system. Eventually they were able to get the large horse free.
A veterinarian on the scene gave the Clydesdale an IV, and firefighters were able to help get the horse off his belly and onto his feet. While stressed and exhausted, he should make a full recovery.
Fiske says it's the first time in 25 years as a firefighter that he's ever had to rescue a horse.
What the heck... it gives the department something new to work on next training day.
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