The Perils of Boggy Woodland
The wet winter weather can present plenty of problems for equestrians and one of these is certainly boggy ground. It is all too easy to run into trouble as illustrated by an unfortunate incident which recently took place in Surrey.
Firefighters were called out shortly after Christmas when two ponies became stuck in the mud near Normandy, a village which neighbours Aldershot.
Two young riders had been hacking through the local woods when they encountered boggy ground. It wasn’t long before it was obvious that the ponies had become stuck. Two adults who were riding out with the girls were forced to seek help as a matter of urgency. Firefighters from both Camberley and Woking joined animal rescue vehicles at the scene to carry out a tricky rescue attempt.
Remote, Cold and Dark
The ponies were stuck in area which was fifteen minutes’ walk from the road. The emergency call had come in late in the afternoon and so the light was failing. Rescuers had to make their way through boggy ground and dense woodland to reach the scene. They then did a little renaissance to find a suitable route that could be used to bring the ponies out. The darkness, the cold and the foggy conditions slowed everybody down but a safe route was eventually established.
The rescuers then attempted to lead the ponies out. However, one of them became tired after just 100 metres and was soon stuck again. The other managed to walk just 50 yards further. A vet was called but took some time to arrive but after 40 minutes the ponies had recuperated and were able to continue. Two firefighters led the horses whilst two walked behind them offering encouragement and they safely emerged from the bog at 7pm.
By this time the vet had arrived and was able to check the animals over. They were given the all-clear and then travelled home to warm up and eat. The children and their families were very grateful to the fire service for their efforts in extracting the horses from a nasty situation.
This episode demonstrates how easy it is to run into trouble and how quickly a pleasant day out can turn into a nightmare. It is best to only ride in areas which you know are safe at this time of year. Animals can become severely distressed if they find themselves stuck. It is advisable to wear hi-vis jackets and to carry a mobile phone in case anything happens and you need to summon help.