Horse uninjured after being rescued from mud in Saanich

Firefighters in Saanich were called in to rescue a horse stuck in deep mud Saturday morning.

Video shared on Twitter by Saanich Fire Department Assistant Deputy Chief Robert Heppell shows roughly a dozen people - most of them wearing fire department uniforms - hauling the animal onto solid ground.

In a phone interview, Heppell told CTV News Vancouver Island that the call came in around 10 a.m. from the horse's owner, who said the animal had wandered into a swampy area in northwest Saanich, near Camosun College's Interurban campus.

Crews fashioned slings out of fire hoses and climbed into the mud with the horse to get the slings underneath the animal, Heppell said, noting that they had to be "very cautious."

Images of the horse in Heppell's tweet show the horse submerged up to its neck in the muddy water, which he described as a bog.

With help from neighbours and the horse's owner, firefighters managed to rescue the horse in just under an hour, Heppell said.

He praised the firefighters from the department's B Platoon for their "outstanding teamwork and ingenuity."

The horse, named Gecko, spent a few minutes lying on its side after the rescue, but it eventually stood up, Heppell said.

"As you can imagine, he was quite exhausted," Heppell said, adding that Gecko had not sustained any injuries during the ordeal.

Saturday's incident is the second time this month that fire crews on the Saanich Peninsula have been called in to rescue a horse from mud.

On July 13, Central Saanich firefighters helped rescue a horse that had fallen into a ditch on the Willow Way trail. 

In that incident, crews dug a slope on the side of the trail to allow the animal to climb out. They also attached straps to the horse's backside to help lift it out of the mud.

Heppell said horse rescues happen from time to time in Saanich, but they're not common.

"It's not something we train for," he said. "Our crews did a great job." 

Outstanding teamwork and ingenuity shown by Captain Niketas and the members of B Platoon @SaanichFire this morning as they rescued a horse that was trapped in a mud bog! @saanich . The horse was exhausted but thankfully has no injuries. I love feel good stories!! @Local967 .

— Robert Heppell (@HeppellRobert) July 31, 2021

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