Horse stuck in swale
rescued by UF team
A horse that got stuck in a swale created by recent heavy rains was rescued and managed to avoid injury, thanks to the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s Large Animal Technical Rescue team.
The horse, named Tea Cup, is a resident of the Mill Creek Farm in Alachua, Fla. She was unable to right herself after being caught in a swale inside of her paddock.
“She was on her side and unable to move her rear legs to get up,” said John Haven, director of medical/health administration at the college and team leader. Haven said an Alachua County sheriff’s deputy was dispatched to the call, but needed more equipment to be able to safely move the horse. He requested assistance from UF, which sent a team including Haven, security supervisor David John and Dr. Roger Clemmons.
“While waiting for the UF, Deputy Brandon Jones used a hose to keep the horse cool and hydrated,” Haven explained. “When the team arrived, we put together a plan, which included opening up the bottom of the swale, performing a rear drag and ultimately walking her out.”
Using special webbing to leverage the horse’s weight, a tractor and a rescue lifejacket to protect the horse’s eyes and pad its head, the team got to work. With just a short 5-foot pull, the horse was moved clear of the swale and immediately stood up.
“Within a few minutes, she was back to grazing grass like nothing had happened,” Haven said.
The UF Large Animal Rescue Team has been busy lately, recently working with the Alachua Sheriff’s office on the rescue of a horse named “Midnight” from the mud of Paynes Prairie and with Alachua Fire Rescue to save a cocker spaniel named Joey that had fallen into a sink hole while on a walk with his owners.
The all-volunteer team operates solely through donations to fund the cost of rescues like these. Anyone wishing to make a contribution should contact the UF CVM development team at 352-294-4256.