Pony Rescued After Falling into Well

All's well that ends well, and so it is for Cherrios, a pony who tumbled 50 feet deep into a well on May 18 and is cheerfully running around again today with his pasturemates.

"He's a very playful pony, and he probably accidentally got bumped over the edge when playing with the other pony in the field," said a riding instructor and tour guide at the Ferme Equestre de Pomposa, an equestrian tourism center in southern Corsica and home to Cherrios. The pony was discovered missing from his pasture during the morning rounds and later seen at the bottom of the well, which is about 10 feet in diameter, said the instructor, who requested not to be named.

A crane, borrowed from a nearby construction site, was used with a sling system to lift the pony out of the well, reported the Corse-Matin website, which also published photos of the rescue.

Against all odds, the 10-year-old pony suffered no serious injuries, despite falling from a height equivalent to that of a five-story building, according to the emergency veterinarian called to the scene, Aymeric Benard, DVM. "Naturally, I expected to see fractures in his legs, but he was completely sound," Benard said.

Other risks included extreme fatigue and hypothermia from standing many hours in the cold air and water at the bottom of the well, Benard said. Cherrios was not likely to drown, since the water only came up to his withers initially. It was later pumped down to about eight inches high by a firefighter team, which had first responded to the emergency call from the riding club.

Surface temperatures in the area are ranging currently from the mid-40s to the low 70s throughout the day, but at 50 feet below, it was "really cold," said Benard, who rappelled down into the well to examine Cherrios, give him a tranquilizer, and prepare him to be lifted out. The pony did suffer mild hypothermia but recovered quickly once out of the well, he added.

"He was eating and soon running around and playing as usual," said the riding instructor.

Even so, the pony will need to be on medications temporarily to prevent possible infections or complications of fatigue and hypothermia, Benard said.

The well is located in a pasture shared by Cherrios (the club's "mascot") and other equines, said the instructor. "He's (Cherrios) been in that field for three years, and we'd never had a problem until now," she said, adding that a fence is now being set in place.

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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