On Monday 27 January at 3.50pm Beechworth and Macclesfield brigades were called out to rescue a horse that was stuck in a high-risk area.
Alongside the brigades, SES Beechworth, a CFA technical rescue team and vet were on scene to support the rescue of the horse.
‘Beetle’ was spooked by a kangaroo on a trail ride and jumped down an embankment into thick mud. Macclesfield Fire Brigade was paged because of their experience with large animal rescues. Captain Sharon Merritt accepted the call and travelled 3.5 hours with Macclesfield members to help the horse.
“We have been to quite a few large animal rescues including horses, cattle and alpacas. But we've never responded this far away before,” Sharon said. “We gathered the equipment we needed, hooked up the trailer, and drove over three hours to Beechworth.”
Macclesfield members were advised on the condition of the horse and were able to create a plan while driving to Beechworth. They were even sent photo updates so they could best prepare.
When the crew arrived the horse appeared exhausted. As soon as a vet was on scene the horse was sedated and crews were able to begin the process to remove it from the mud.
“It was a difficult area to access as the horse was stuck in a steep, bushy area. We couldn’t get trucks in, we could only get our four-wheel drive vehicle and the trailer in. We had to carry most of the equipment into the area ourselves,” Sharon said.
Crews used a stretcher and pulled him out by hand. Beetle was free by 9pm.
“We were ecstatic. It was hard work but with team effort we got him out.
“It was a huge relief when he stood up and started to walk around. He had no obvious injuries.”
Beetle is now back safely back with his owner.