MEDICINE HAT, AB — Some quick thinking by Medicine Hat firefighters over the weekend helped save a Clydesdale horse from serious injury.
At around 11:00 am on Saturday, the floor of a trailer hauling four horses gave out along 17th Street SW.
One of the horses fell through the floor, with its rear legs becoming trapped between the pavement and the trailer.
Lt. Dan Yonkman said the Clydesdale didn’t panic, which made it easier for crews on scene.
“The horse was cooperating better than most of our patients, but it’s not often we reach a 2,000 pound patient,” said Yonkman. “So, the good news was it didn’t seem to be in too much distress, but it [was] clearly uncomfortable. And, we avoided power tools to begin with because we didn’t want to startle the horse.”
Crews worked to raise the trailer without injuring the horse, and without spooking the three others that were huddled behind the trapped Clydesdale.
Yonkman said their experience in extracting drivers and passengers from crashes helped over the weekend.
“Quite often we train enormous amounts of hours in safe removal of patients, vehicle extrication training,” he said. “So, we used shoring to stabilize the trailer, cribbing on all four corners, and just slowly used high-pressure airbags to lift the rear of the trailer high enough to get the handlers of the horse to convince that horse to stand up.”
Luckily, a veterinarian was on scene to assist in the extraction while handlers coaxed the horse out of the trailer once freed.
Yonkman added while it’s a unique situation, his team was prepared to help the animal as best they could.
“Every shift we’re training for scenarios, but it’s mostly on the equipment we use,” he said. “So, in these creative situations it’s still the same equipment, just a better way of removing patients safely. And, in this case a 2,000 pound patient.”
The entire extraction took around two and a half hours to complete.
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