Blind horse rescued from 25-foot-deep sinkhole

by Michael Mosher on September 10, 2012

Post image for Blind horse rescued from 25-foot-deep sinkhole

A blind horse that fell into a sinkhole and was trapped for about four-and-a-half hours was freed by Blount County firefighters and other rescuers Sunday in Louisville.

Star, a quarter horse mare owned by Jack and Jennifer Estep, fell into the sinkhole on property off Quarry Road at about 4 p.m., Blount County Fire Chief Doug McClanahan said.

“The hole was narrow and about 25-feet deep. How in the world she kept from breaking something or killing itself — it was just a miracle,” McClanahan said.

The fire department received a call about the horse about 4:30 p.m. and the horse was finally pulled from the hole at about 8:30 p.m. McClanahan said.

Jack Estep estimated 30 to 40 people arrived at the scene to help with the horse, including four veterinarians, two from the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center and two from Countryside Veterinary Services on Little Dug Gap Road in Louisville.

Dr. Clair Ringger, an internal medicine specialist with Countryside, was at the rescue scene with Dr. Becky Lillard, an owner of the practice.

Star was under observation Sunday night at Countryside’s ICU facility.

“She’s standing up, ate a little hay, drank some water. She’s nervous, being blind and in a new environment,” Ringger said. “Her heart rate is still up. I believe she’s still in some discomfort.”

But considering the trauma Star had been through, the vet was hopeful that the horse will be OK.

“I think she has good chance of recovery.”

There were three immediate concerns, Ringger explained. One, Star was going into shock. Two, she was getting dehydrated. Three, a large animal like a cow or a horse can only be down for so long before muscle damage occurs and enzymes from dying muscles then damage the kidneys.

“Everybody was just phenomenal,” McClanahan said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and this is the first time I had to rescue a horse. I hope I never have to again.”

This actually was the second “rescue” of Star, estimated to be 16 or 17 years old.

Jack Estep said it was his wife’s dream to own a horse, so when they found a free horse offered on Craig’s List, they decided to check it out. They discovered that Star had “moon blindness.” She could see shadows, but that’s all.

“Our hearts just went out to her,” Estep said. “Star is a very trusting horse, she puts all her trust into our hands because she’s blind.”

Her calm demeanor may have saved her life. Vets sedated Star while she was in the hole. Using a special harness provide by UT and a 16-ton winch on a Blount County Fire Department truck, she was lifted out of the hole. Star was revived about 20 minutes later and walked into the trailer.

“Everybody was just phenomenal,” McClanahan said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time and this is the first time I had to rescue a horse. I hope I never have to again.”

Full article…here

Previous post:

Next post: