On the evening of 6th September, horse rescue charity, HorseWorld received a phone call from the police requesting assistance with a young mare who was locked in a pen and stuck under a trailer in some pain and difficulty. HorseWorld’s Managing Director, Mark Owen advised the Police to immediately call the Avon and Somerset Fire Service Animal Rescue team and also HorseWorld’s vets B&W Equine, both of whom were very quick to get to the scene - an industrial area of Avonmouth, Bristol.
Station Manager Rob Seaman, said: “When crews arrived they found a mare approximately 14 hands trapped under a trailer and immediately called for a vet. After being assessed the horse was deemed healthy enough to be sedated to enable firefighters to complete the rescue.
“Using strops, drag board and specialised rescue equipment the horse was freed. The mare was continually monitored as the sedation wore off and then released into a makeshift pen. After the lengthy rescue it was already dark so crews provided lighting to assist with the move of the animal into a trailer.
“This challenging rescue was a great success due to the dedication and professionalism of all involved.”
When HorseWorld’s Mark Owen arrived at the scene the mare had been sedated and painkillers administered. Her leg was covered in lacerations where she had been struggling to get up. Gradually, the mare was helped to her feet and moved into a temporary holding pen to allow her to quietly recover from her ordeal and for the sedation to wear off.
“The environment resembled a waste-ground, littered with rubbish, gas canisters and even upturned cars.” Said Mark “The mare (who we have now named Minty), had been locked in a pen made of mesh fencing and the old trailer she was stuck under had been her shelter. There were numerous other trailers there, all 18” deep in muck.”
A member of the police force, who was at the scene, said, “It was so distressing to see this poor mare exhausted and struggling. I was glad that HorseWorld stepped in to help save this horses’ life. It was great to have someone there who could talk us through what agencies needed to be involved and how to keep the mare calm. The Fire and Rescue Service have an Animal Rescue Team who were actually trained at HorseWorld so it was a real team effort.”
Once Minty was standing, it was clear that she also had other, older injuries which suggested she had been through an awful lot in her young life. Her mouth had been badly cut inside and in the corners as though a bit had been left in her mouth and pulled tightly for some time. (A bit is the metal part of a bridle that sits in the mouth). There were sores over her back where it appears some sort of training roller or saddle pad had been left on in all winds and weathers. Whoever owned Minty had been using some very brutal and painful training techniques.
As darkness began to fall, volunteer helpers rallied round to fetch a trailer and vehicle to bring Minty back to HorseWorld. It soon became apparent that the task of loading her into the trailer to transport her home was not going to be easy. She had no trust in humans, particularly men and the terrible ordeal she had just been through made her wary of any near her environment. The male members of the rescue team had to take a step back behind the trailer so that the female team members could try to gently coax her into the well-lit, open trailer.
Meanwhile, back at the HorseWorld Welfare Yard, two of the grooms had prepared a stable with a deep bed and plenty of hay and were waiting for Minty to finally arrive at 10.30pm after a long, traumatic evening.
“On arrival, her demeanour was that of a horse who had emotionally shut down.” Said Mark “Her eyes were glazed and she would completely blank us if we spoke to her over the stable door. Her injuries were consistent with brutal training methods so it is not hard to see why, but it was utterly heart-breaking to see a horse with such broken spirit.
“Minty is now fit and well and is out in the paddock with other horses at HorseWorld.”
HorseWorld are holding an Open Day on Saturday 15th October (10.30am - 4.00pm) where members of the public will be able to meet Minty in her paddock and hear all about her rescue story. There are around 100 rescued horses at HorseWorld. Many of them will be brought into the yard for Open Day where members of the public will be able to read their rescue stories and talk to the grooms that care for them. There will also be hot food, drinks and merchandise on sale. Entry and parking are FREE, donations towards the charity’s on-going rescue work are always welcomed. For more details, please visit www.horseworld.org.uk/events or call 01275 832425