Volunteers help 1,500-pound horse after icy fall
Volunteers from Hometown Fire Company No. 1 helped rescue this 28-year-old horse on Tuesday night on Ben Titus Road. After numerous unsuccessful attempts to get Legacy to his feet, including the use of straps and a tow truck, firefighters coaxed and pushed the 1,500 pound horse until he was able to stand. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY PAGE GITTENS
Volunteer firefighters are never sure what to expect when they get called for a special assignment or chief’s request. That was the case Tuesday night for the Hometown Volunteer Fire Company #1.
“It was around 5:30 p.m.,” says Page Gittens. “We were called for a chief’s request, responding to a property on Ben Titus Road. What we saw was heartbreaking: An older horse down on the ground, unable to get up.”
Gittens says the owners of the 28-year-old 1,500-pound horse had already been trying to help him get on his feet.
“No one knew if the horse laid down to rest or slipped, but he was unable to get up because of the icy, slippery conditions.”
Firefighters placed mats under the horse to provide warmth and traction. They also built a bonfire close to him for extra warmth as temperatures were falling.
The 10 volunteer firefighters tried to get the horse, named Legacy, to move for about an hour, then called in Hope’s Towing for help.
Despite the straps placed around the horse’s middle, efforts to get Legacy on his feet failed.
In a last-ditch effort, the volunteers took up positions behind the horse and began pushing, rocking him back and forth a bit.
“We were coaxing him, pleading with him to try one more time. He was so tired, down on the ground for almost a total of three hours,” says Gittens. “This felt like our last chance.”
Amazingly, it worked. The volunteers’ efforts gave Legacy the strength he needed, and he surged to his feet with those extra pushes, the mats helping him stay upright.
As they all slowly walked back to the barn with the tired horse, hopeful he would make it to safety, firefighters spoke of the connection they had established.
“It was so emotional,” says Gittens. “We were all cheering, many of us in tears, knowing we made another save.”