A two-hour horse ordeal came to a successful end about 2:30 Saturday afternoon with the rescue of an 1,800-pound horse stuck in mud and ice to her neck.
"Moonshine" is now recuperating and receiving care in a heated barn, said Hamilton Fire Deputy Chief Kirby Brand.
The rescue started after a 911 call at 12:30 p.m. from a person walking in a nearby driveway. The walker saw the distressed animal in mud and ice about 200 feet off the beaten track.
Rescue workers relied on human power to pull Moonshine to safety, an operation that lasted two hours.
Below is Deputy Chief Brand's account of the incident and response:
Approximately 1230 hours today, January 25, 2014 Hamilton Public Safety was notified of a horse that had fallen through the ice at Devon Glen Farm on Bay Road in Hamilton. On the arrival of the 1st Engine Company and the Hamilton Police they discovered a horse approximately 200 feet across an icy field buried up to her neck in a swamp of mud and ice. Work was immediately started to keep the animals head from going under.
The horse was pinned under the ice by her front legs and the mud created a vacuum holding her down. Straps were used to keep the animal from sinking further into the “quicksand” type environment. Firefighters entered the water in survival suits to remove the ice and mud from around the animal. After several attempts rescue slings were placed under the horse. Due to the remote location of the rescue, we were unable to get heavy equipment close enough to be useful. All “hands on” resources were coordinated and with the help of the horse she was manually hoisted up and successfully extricated. The extrication was completed in just over 2 hours.
Thanks to the veterinarians on scene she was stabilized and after a few attempts “Moonshine” stood up on her own and was led to a heated barn. She was examined and found to be slightly hypothermic from her immersion. Warmed IV fluids were administered and at last report the horse was doing well.
All of the Hamilton Fire Department resources were dispatched to the scene with the Hamilton Police; additional assistance was summoned from the Wenham and Topsfield Fire Departments, Essex County Technical Rescue team, Beauport ambulance, The FEMA Task Force Commander and Rehab 5 for their services. Thanks to Dodge Tree Service of Hamilton for dispatching their crane to the scene as well to G & J Towing of Revere that supplied a heavy wrecker to assist with operations. Manchester and Essex Fire Departments provided station coverage during the rescue.