Mare Rescued from Creek

A 26-year-old mare named Josie survived a harrowing creek rescue in Pennsylvania on Aug. 2 with the help of area residents, horse owners, fire department personnel, and a veterinarian, according to an article in the Tribune Review.

Three teenage boys discovered a mare stuck on her right side in the mud in about three to four feet of water along a creek bed in Westmoreland County. The boys managed to get the front legs of the horse free and were struggling with the hind legs when rescue personnel appeared on the scene, according to the newspaper report.

The Forbes Road and Slickville firefighters weren't sure how to get the horse out, since they were untrained in working with horses. They were concerned that, as with people, if the horse wasn't removed from the water immediately, it would go into shock. So, they used manpower to successfully lift the horse out of the water, according to the story.

Representatives from Hi Acre Stables in New Alexandria were called in by emergency workers afterward, and Hi Acre volunteers helped Josie get back on her feet. Brian Burks, DVM, of Fox Run Equine Center in Delmont, Pa., was summoned to examine the mare. When Burks arrived, Josie's temperature had dropped to 95ºF (35ºC), several degrees below the normal equine temperature of 99.5-101.5ºF (37.5-38.6ºC). Burks inserted an IV catheter and administered fluids to re-hydrate the horse, and he gave her anti-inflammatory drugs.

Josie's owner, Ed Steel, had raised the mare on his farm since she was a weanling, and the mare had never escaped out of the pasture previously. Steel reported the day after the event that Josie was again comfortably standing and eating, noted the Tribune Review.

This story highlights the need for more programs in equine rescue training, such as the one Hagyard-Davidson-McGee Associates sponsors annually in Lexington, Ky. (see article #2237).

About the Author

Rachael C. Turner

Rachael Turner is the former Photo and Newsletter Editor for The Horse. She is an avid event rider. Rachael's main focus is dressage and on training young horses with the proper foundation for success. She is also a member of the United States Dressage Federation and the United States Equestrian Federation. Her website is

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