No horsing around: This equine rescue took a team effort

Jan 6, 2022
MATTAPOISETT - The call was a first for Mattapoisett Fire Lt. Ross Macedo.
A horse was stuck in a barn on Acushnet Road Wednesday morning Jan. 5 and was unable to stand. 
But thanks to efforts by the Mattapoisett Fire Department and support from The Plymouth County Technical Rescue Team, the horse was rescued from its stall and able to make it onto its four hoofs. 
The horse, a 23-year-old male named Daniel, recently had surgery on its rear hoof, Macedo said. When the horse laid down in its relatively small stall, the animal was unable to get up.
The owner called a veterinarian, who requested she call the Fire Department, which the vet knew had access to the technical rescue team. One of the team’s specialities is rescuing large animals such as horses that become stuck in various situations. 
Dr. Kendy Foristall, a veterinarian with Highland Hill Veterinary Service, an equine ambulatory veterinary practice serving southeastern Massachusetts, also responded to the scene.
She sedated the horse to prevent injuries to either the animal or the rescuers. Then the hard work began.
The responding team worked to place a backboard device, which is used to maneuver large animals, under the horse and drag its hefty, 1,800-pound body out of the barn. Ropes and pulleys also helped to move the animal.
“We used a lot of manpower,’’ Macedo said.
When the horse reached the outside of the barn, he recovered from the sedation in about 10 minutes. 
Then the rescuers, using straps on his hind legs and focusing on the side furthest from his recovering hoof, were able to coax him to stand and “up he went.’’
“He was just happy to get up and out of that situation,’’ Macedo said.
Mattapoisett Fire was “very, very lucky,’’ Macedo said, to have the assistance of the technical rescue team, with members from communities such as Duxbury, Halifax, Kingston and Plympton.
The rescue was “very successful,’’ Macedo said. “Considering the size of the animal and the tight quarters, we came out with a great outcome.’’