Firefighters successfully hoisted a horse out of a well near San Rafael Monday evening after it had fallen in and struggled to swim earlier in the day, a fire battalion chief said.
Buddy the horse was first reported to have fallen in the well at 4:37 p.m. on the ranch where the horse is kept at 690 N. San Pedro Road, Battalion Chief Jeff Rowan said.
The nine-year-old horse was found in the 30-foot-deep well, treading water as the well had about 20 feet of water in it and supporting itself on a broken board.
Rowan said it wasn't clear how long the horse had been in there before firefighters arrived, but it appeared that the horse had stepped onto a board covering the well and it had broken.
Greg Alvernaz, the ranch caretaker, found Buddy thrashing about and thought he would drown.
“I actually thought he wasn't going to make it, then somebody came up with the idea to raise the water level up,” he said.
The fire department pumped water into the well, allowing buddy to float to the top and finally rest his head on the side, but he still couldn't climb out.
Firefighters, sheriff's deputies, a veterinarian and other animal workers all responded and eventually decided to hoist the horse out of the well using a crane.
Once they strapped the horse in Buddy easily came out of the well and, while tired, appeared to be OK and was able to walk under its own power, Rowan said.
“Amazingly enough, when the horse was finally lifted out of the well, where it could stand on its own for feet, it did exactly that,” said Marin County Sheriff deputy Lt. Doug Pittman. “It stood up, like nothing had ever happened."
Linda Boyd, the horse's owner, has only had her Morgan horse for five weeks.
She never imagined Buddy would step up on top of the wood covering the well and break through, but she said he is inquisitive.
“He's a people horse,” Boyd said. “He's totally curious; he probably wanted to play with something.”
The horse appeared to be in good cosnition. The brick walls of the well left some scrapes on Buddy's legs, but nothing that won't heal and after his ordeal.
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