Captain Sharon Merritt said the brigade’s reputation meant they first heard of the troubles of Archie the Pony when they were called directly by a friend of the owner.
“The horse wasn’t in our area so we contacted our Regional Duty Commander and he arranged for us to respond along with the local Berwick Fire Brigade and assist the vet in rescuing the horse.”
“The owners had been with the horse and said it had just disappeared into a sinkhole.
“It’s been so wet and the ground just gave way so the pony was a very narrow hole under the ground level, so there no way it could get out.”
Fortunately for Archie, there was also someone on site with an excavator which allowed the brigade to rig up a harness and lift the horse to safety without causing injury.
“Our role is really to assist the vet and for our on safety, we wouldn’t do anything unless the animal’s sedated.”
Macclesfield Brigade has been helping with large animal rescues for around 20 years, but Captain Merritt said the demand has increased in recent years.
“We’ve been doing it a lot more since we got the specialised equipment in the last 3 or 4 years.”
“It’s mostly horses and cattle that we get called to, but we have been to an alpaca rescue before, and we were also called to a camel rescue on Mt Buller but were turned back before arriving.”
That experience proved the difference for Archie, with captain Merritt saying the pony’s doing very well after the successful extraction from the surprise mud bath.