September: Bella – The Rescue!

Unfortunately, once a year, a horse and owner will find themselves in a dreadful emergency situation. It’s an owner’s worst nightmare and often it does not end positively for the horse. We have seen horses stuck in outdoor pools, fallen on treacherous mountain trails, attacked by large predators and loose on the highway. Fortunately, here is a recent emergency situation that, thanks to actions of a great horse community, has a positive ending.

Bella and her owner were returning to the barn Sunday Sept 9 when Bella lost her footing and slipped on a narrow wooden bridge. Her legs splayed with her right front leg getting stuck through the metal side rail.  SEVS and the Sooke and Metchosin Fire Departments were called right away. During the 90-minute wait, Bella’s owner managed to keep Bella relatively calm and still.  Unfortunately, Bella, a large 1200lb mare, still managed to wedge herself across the bridge, on her belly, with her right front leg between the metal rails on one side and her back legs kicking at the metal rails on the other side.  Thanks to everyone’s calm actions and Bella’s trusting nature, she did not sustain any fatal injuries.

Bella was sedated while the Metchosin Fire Department, specially trained in horse rescue, got set up. Once everything was in place, Bella was placed under general anesthesia to allow for safe manipulation of her limbs and to avoid additional injury from thrashing, while she was pulled by a dozen firemen and women off the bridge and into the field for recovery.

Bella recovered very smoothly from anesthetic, but she was in shock and injured. Dr Danica, the owners and caregivers treated her for shock and tended to her wounds, which were found on all four limbs and included a large open wound with the radius exposed on the inner right front leg. Thanks to the exceptional daily wound management by her owners and Bella’s incredible tolerance, we are thrilled to report Bella is making a miraculous recovery. We anticipate she will heal completely and will be able to return to full riding form in a few weeks.  Thank you to everyone who helped Bella on that terrible Sunday, with special thanks to the dedicated firemen and women of the Metchosin and Sooke Fire Departments.

Please note the images below may be disturbing.