King County, WA – A horse who fell through a portion of a rotted wooden bridge on the Middle Fork trail was saved on Sunday thanks to a dedicated rescue team. According to the Washington State Animal Response Team (WASART), the rescue effort involved a joint effort between King County Explorer Search and Rescue (KCESAR) and WASART.
The horse, named Dakota, was unable to free herself because of how she fell. WASART described the situation, writing:
Initial assessment of Dakota showed that her right hind limb was completely through a hole near the side of the bridge up to the level of her right pelvic bone.
According to WASART, Dakota was alert but “clearly distressed.” The horse’s veterinarian was called out to the scene and Dakota was sedated to allow the rescuers to free her.
The rescue team describes the highly involved process used to free Dakota:
We first raised Dakota about 6-12 inches using the Kootenay pulley on the highline. We then used the hind end haul system to move her out of the hole and covered the hole with a slip sheet before laying her back down on the deck. We raised her a second time and placed the Becker slings beneath her front and hind ends and secured them to the Becker bar attached to the Kootenay pulley on the highline. We then placed the glide beneath her. The highline tagline was attached to the front of the glide and was used to pull the glide to the end of the bridge, just before the 90-degree turn onto the trail at the end of the bridge.
After the horse was freed, the team members waited for her sedative to wear off, and then she was carefully lifted to her feet; thankfully, Dakota was able to stand and walk. Her owners, and her veterinarian, helped get her back to the trailer.
The team wished Dakota well:
We wish Dakota a full recovery and many happy trails in her future.
Hundreds of people commented on the amazing rescue effort, praising the volunteers who saved Dakota’s life. Kudos to these amazing animal rescuers!
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