By Olivia Drake, HVFCo Public Information Officer.
Haddam Volunteer Fire Company (HVFCo) was dispatched to a public service call for an animal rescue at 2:45 p.m. Nov. 13, 2016. Two horseback riders called for help after their horse had gotten stuck on a trail near the Turkey Hill Reservoir.
Trisha, a 27-year-old quarter horse, was unable to move after sinking into mud about three feet deep. Trisha’s rider fell from the horse during the incident, but sustained no injuries. Another horse named Shiloh, who didn’t have a rider, also stepped into the muddy area, but was able to quickly escape.
HVFCo. Chief Sam Baber located the horseback riders’ vehicle and trailer on the side of Filley Road in Haddam. Through Valley Shore Emergency Communications, Chief Baber was able to make phone contact with the horse owners and visually spotted them from a nearby bridge on the Reservoir. Chief Baber learned that the two riders and three horses entered Cockaponset State Forest about 100 feet south from where they had parked, and made a right onto a red-marked trail. Haddam Fire Captain Dan Sullivan, Firefighter Aaron Rigono and Probationary Member Charlie Kowal trekked into the woods in search of the horseback riders and the horse.
Meanwhile, the owners worked to free Trisha from the muddy trail. They dug one leg out and used rocks and a saddle pad to give the horse traction. After several rescue attempts, Trisha was able to pull herself out of the mud without injury.
After letting Trisha rest, the horse owners walked back to the trail head and met the firefighters en route. Members of HVFCo. ensured that the trail riders and horses exited the state forest safely and without injury.
The Durham Animal Response Team – DART also responded, but was canceled after confirmation that the horse was safe and out of the situation.
Photo by Olivia Drake.