Sinkholes pose a dangerous hazard for both people and animals. Even large animals like horses can become helplessly trapped, and in some cases, it can be fatal.
Fortunately, one horse named Prince was saved thanks to the hard work of a rescue team who dug him out just in time.
According to a statement from the West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service (WYFRS), 27-year-old Prince was out for a walk through the field after being let out of his stable at Calder Farm Equestrian. However, he soon became trapped in a sinkhole, and the stable hand couldn’t find him.
WYFRS was called to help, and they had to act carefully to avoid harming the horse. Technical rescue officer and station manager Damian Cameron said, “We’ve had similar incidents in the past where cows have got stuck in sinkholes, and we do have the option of putting slings around them and lifting them out. However, we felt this could be dangerous for Prince, so we opted to dig him out instead.”
To keep Prince calm, vets put a head collar on him, covered his eyes, and put cotton wool in his ears. “Once Prince was sedated, we started to work on getting him out and back to the surface,” Cameron said.
A local business called Chappelow Sports Turf lent an excavator, and they dug a sloping gradient where the horse could climb out. “By that point, his legs were a bit numb, and he still had a bit of climbing to do, but he managed to get out fairly quickly – the whole rescue took less than an hour,” Cameron said.
“Prince was checked and thankfully recovered from his ordeal with no injuries – we were thrilled to be able to reunite Prince with his owner.”
Sinkholes can be caused by things like running water or old mines, according to WYFRS. But for Prince and his owner, this was a first-time occurrence.
“Because of his age, we just ride him once a week. He is so calm and has never gotten in trouble before. We couldn’t believe it when he got stuck in the sinkhole. It was in the middle of a field he goes into every day, and there have never been any problems.”
Thanks to the quick work of the fire & rescue service, disaster was averted. “The fire crews were absolutely amazing. I had no idea what to do, and the crew came and took control, worked quickly and efficiently, and were so good with Prince. I really can’t thank them enough. Prince has come out of it totally fine and is out on a different field today.”