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Firefighters hailed as heroes after rescuing elderly horse who’d slipped in an icy field

KAWARTHA LAKES-It was a rough day for Clyde a 34 year old Clydesdale Cross. The elderly horse had ventured out of the barn, slipped in the field and could not get back up. That set the stage for a harrowing few hours of highs and lows for the horse and his owner.


It was Friday morning when Katie Brown noticed her beloved old horse was in trouble. She quickly gathered up some neighbours and began trying to get him back onto his feet.

“He just couldn’t get up and no matter where we tried to drag him or brace him or put salt down he just couldn’t get up, the ice was really awful. At this point Clyde went into shock, this is now probably 45 minutes into the ordeal so we decided to call the fire department for assistance.” Brown told Kawartha 411.

Brown says she wasn’t even sure this was something the fire department could do but when she put the call in they didn’t hesitate.

Captain Shaun Farr and three other firefighters soon arrived on the scene on Peniel Road. “They immediately began to devise a plan and obviously to have him stand on the ice wasn’t an option so the plan was to drag him.” Brown explains, ” So they actually took down part of the fence and as a team with my neighbour and a whole bunch of people we secured him with some straps and started to pull him.”

She says firefighters used the lifeboards from the fire truck and got him outside of the paddock but even the grass was icy and Clyde still couldn’t get up.

“He was extremely exhaused at this point because this is now two hours in. The next plan was to get as many square bales as possible from the barn, which the fire department did, and build a shelter around him until the vet could arrive.”

But Dr. Morrison the vet from Port Perry was delayed because of the weather. “There were a lot of animals in distress yesterday in the terrible weather so our job was to secure Clyde until the vet could get here.” Brown said.

Once Clyde was secure they warmed him up with blankets and were pouring warm water into his mouth because Brown feared she was losing him. “His gums had gone completely pale at that point which is a sure sign you are losing him, we just had to wait for the vet.”

The vet arrived and assessed the situation, giving Clyde some painkillers. “It seemed like he snapped out of a big dream and he just sat up and bless his soul, he gave it all he had.”

But he fell again, hitting his face, starting to bleed. After a few more tries Clyde finally got to his feet.

“My sister was with me and he finally took this big step and I don’t know where the energy came from for my sister and I but I literally positioned myself underneath his body and gave him this “out of body experience push” and and he just finally clamoured to his feet and was extremely shaky.”

Brown took Clyde back to his stall in the barn and surprisingly he’s none the worse for wear. “He’s 34 going to be 35 in March, horses live to be about 27, so in human years he’s about 117 years old,” Brown exclaims, “The vet was surprised by his quick recovery.”

Brown credits the crews from the Oakwood Fire station for saving Clyde’s life. “I was so surprised and humbled, first of all I was surprised at their determination for him, for them to take Clyde’s care as serious as a human emergecncy was honestly so touching and I was so proud of Kawartha Lakes to have a fire department that responded with so much importance.” she says.

“I honestly owe why Clyde is alive to them, I am so indebted to them.”


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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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