, Salem, MA

Local News

January 27, 2014

Rescuers save horse in Hamilton

Moonshine was 'up to her neck in mud and ice' after sinking in secluded marsh

HAMILTON — Moonshine knew she was in trouble, but she remained calm.

After falling through ice in a marsh at Devon Glen Farm on Bay Road, the 1,800-pound horse was up to her neck in mud when emergency crews arrived around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, according to Deputy fire Chief Kirby Brand. It is unknown exactly how Moonshine ended up in the marsh, but officials said they believe she escaped a nearby paddocks.

“She was up to her neck in mud and ice,” Brand said. “It was almost like quicksand in some areas.”

Crews immediately worked to keep the horse’s head from sinking any further. Moonshine was pinned under the ice by her front legs, and the mud created a vacuum holding her down, Brand said.

The farm is down a long drive off Bay Road, and the rescue took place in a remote area. A neighbor called 911 to report the emergency.

Brand said firefighters entered the water in survival suits to remove the ice and mud from around Moonshine. After several attempts, rescue slings were placed under the horse, he said.

Through it all, Moonshine remained calm.

“We helped her get her feet up,” Brand said. “Every time we started to pull, she was trying to help. She knew we were trying to help her.”

Moonshine was freed about 21/2 hours later after more than 20 people pulled her out by hand. After resting a few minutes, the horse walked back to the barn on her own, Brand said.

Brand said the horse had mild hypothermia and a few bumps and bruises. A veterinarian gave Moonshine warm intravenous fluids because the horse was 5 degrees colder than she should have been.

While a crane and tow truck were on hand, they couldn’t be used because of the remote location, Brand said.

“This was one of the most challenging rescues we’ve ever managed,” Brand said, “and it was a successful extrication. It was a real team effort.”

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