Firefighters in Fort Eire are trained and experienced in animal rescues, but a horse falling through a sinkhole was a completely new challenge. It happened when a water main break near the stables at the Fort Erie race track caused the ground to give way. A four-year-old racehorse, Mr. Changue, was grazing near the stable when one step sent him plunging into the earth. It was a scary situation for all involved, but thanks to the horse's trainers and the dedication of the local fire department, Mr. Changue is safely back on solid ground.
Audry Albu, one of Mr. Changue's trainers, recalls the moment she heard a strange sound and went out to find the horse deep in the ground. She said,
"It was extremely scary, he was thrashing around trying to jump out, he kept banging his knees and stuff."
In an instant, the seemingly solid ground had turned into an unstable pit. It was more than six feet deep and well over Mr. Changue's shoulders. If he stretched his neck, he could barely get his muzzle above the ground.
At first, the desperate trainers encouraged Mr. Changue to try and jump out of the hole on his own. His efforts, however, only made the situation worse. He didn't have room in the pit to maneuver, and every move sent him deeper into the ground. It was clear they needed help, and a group of racetrack workers and the Fort Erie Fire Department came together to save the distressed horse.
The group devised a plan to carefully dig a ramp so that Mr. Changue could walk out on his own. With support from his trusted trainers, Mr. Changue slowly picked his way out of the hole. A wrong step could have made the ground collapse again, and everyone was worried Mr. Changue would fall and break a leg.
After several agonizing minutes, the racehorse finally made it out of the sinkhole. Everyone was both surprised and relieved to see their horse had suffered only mild injuries. They bandaged the scrapes on his legs, and veterinarians expect him to make a full recovery.
Staff at the stable hope their experience helps spread awareness about the dangers of water main breaks. No one had expected the ground to give way under one of their horses, and it was teamwork and quick thinking that saved the horse's life.
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