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Horse stuck in ditch freed by Central Saanich crews

Backhoe used to help police, fire and public works free animal
Simon gets inspected after his rescue from a ditch in Central Saanich. (Courtesy of Central Saanich Fire)

You can lead a horse to water, but if it falls in, it’ll need to be rescued.

Central Saanich public works, fire and police departments learned that the hard way during a horse rescue on Tuesday, July 13. A stallion slipped into a flooded five-foot ditch along Willow Way near Keating Cross Road around 10 a.m. that morning.

The animal – Simon – lost his footing grazing on the road’s tall grass while his owner was dismounted, according to Central Saanich Fire Capt. Brennan Gummer. Although Simon’s head was above the water in the steep, muddy trench, Gummer said the horse was unable to remove himself after several exhausting attempts.

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Central Saanich police and fire departments arrived at the same time, followed shortly by the public works department and veterinarians, totalling 15 responders called to the incident. A backhoe was ultimately used to dig out small steps in the ditch for Simon to climb out.

“The handler had good control of the horse, and it was quite calm even when the machine was digging around it,” Gummer said.

After some hand digging to improve the footing and an eight-person heave on a strap around his rear, Simon was safely freed. The stallion and his owner returned to their stable for additional veterinary assessment.

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