After Ill-Advised Shortcut, 2 Horses Are Rescued in a 5-Hour Mission

It took five hours, nearly 50 people and a makeshift bridge of ropes and logs, but a complex rescue effort in Connecticut this weekend successfully freed two horses, Damascus and Beau, after they became stuck in a swampy mess.

Jeanna Prink, the director of Stirrup Fun Stables Rescue, the nonprofit rescue and rehabilitation center where Damascus and Beau live, said that the horses got stuck up to their armpits in mud on Saturday while taking a “shortcut that they shouldn’t have taken,” between a pasture and a barn.

“Horses are known for getting themselves into trouble, they are curious by nature,” Ms. Prink said.

Both horses had found safe haven at the farm in Lebanon, Conn., after being rescued from difficult situations. Damascus, a 20-year-old Percheron, arrived at the stables after the farm saved him from an auction’s kill pen, where horses are sold to buyers who take them to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered for food. The previous owners of Beau, a 24-year-old quarter horse, brought him to the farm because they were unable to adequately care for him as they got older.

Ms. Prink said that Beau and Damascus went missing on Saturday, and farm workers spent a couple of hours looking for them before finding the horses stuck in the mud. After a spending a couple more hours trying to get the horses out, the workers ultimately had to call for outside help.

The Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department received a call about the stuck horses around 2 p.m. Jay Schall, the department’s chief, said he was at his son’s soccer game when he learned about the problem. He said he left the game, arrived at the farm and saw a “logistical nightmare.”

Beau and Damascus were deep in mud in a heavily wooded area that was difficult to access. The department rescues one or two large animals each year, Mr. Schall said, but the scale of this rescue was larger than anything he had seen before.

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