RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — A horse is recovering after fire crews had to pull her free from a muddy pond in the Cedar Square area in Randolph County.
Aaliyah Ratcliffe, one of Rose’s owners, said she is doing better and standing on her own four hooves.
Ratcliffe and Natalie Smith had taken Rose, the 7-year-old Appaloosa, into their care shortly before the incident. Rose is a rescue and came to them malnourished and in need of care and rehabilitation.
“The couple we got her from today had gotten her about two months prior and have handled a lot of her basic vet care, trimmed her feet and started putting some weight on her,” Ratcliffe said. “They told me that she came to them from someone in S.C. and were shown pictures of her healthy and even a child riding her, but once she was shipped she came off the trailer in this condition.”
About 30 minutes after arriving at her new pasture, Rose fell into the pond.
Guild-Rand Fire Department Engine 411, Car 20, Rescue 20, Ash-Rand Rescue and Randolph Animal Control all responded to the scene to help.
The fire department said Rose didn’t have the energy to get herself out of the pond, so the team needed to use webbing, pulleys and ropes to get a “mechanical advantage,” the fire department said.
“In the moment I was a bit nervous due to her being malnourished,” Ratcliffe said. “The more time she was stuck in the pond the higher the risk got of if she would be okay. She is in a fragile state so every second going by created more of a risk for her and more nerves for us.”
The team was able to pull her to safety, and, once Rose was out, her owner covered her in a blanket to warm her up.
After a chance to rest, Rose was able to get up. She was led to a stall where she would be able to safely rest and regain her strength.
Brandy Longmire, a neighbor, said she was at the scene as the team was working to rescue the horse.
“Time and time again our little neighborhood comes together anytime there is an emergency,” Longmire said. “There is never a shortage of help here. We’re grateful to our firefighters and rescue crews for the hard work they do! It was like watching it on TV but it was 30 feet away.”
The crews responsible for saving this horse received an outpouring of praise from the community in the comments of Guil-Rand Fire Department’s Facebook post.
Justin and Tori McLeod of 4Hooves Large Animal Services, based in Biscoe, said, “Thank you for going above and beyond and responding to animal rescue calls for service. Congratulations on a successful rescue operation! Prayers for the horse’s recovery.”