Least Resistance Training Concepts

Volunteers Training for Emergencies

  Large Animal Evac and Technical Rescue Activities
September 20, 2017

  Rescuing a Wild Horse
Caught on a Wire
At first light we received a request to respond to a range mare that was somehow snared in some kind of wire attached to the roof of the Carson Armory, a firearms store on US-50 in Mound House. An NHP Trooper was at the scene waiting our arrival. We responded with Rescue 3 and the panel trailer.

Apparently when the proprietors of the business came to open up, they spotted the mare alongside the building. When she didn't move they noticed the wire running from the roof that was wrapped several times around a foreleg, secured the scene and called for help

We arrived to find the mare absolutely tangled up with a length of high tensile wire rope that was attached somewhere on the roof, that was wrapped several times around her right foreleg. The building fronted US-50 and the time of day was toward the end of the morning commute rush.

The area brand inspector was also responding so we assessed the scene and started securing the area between the horse and the highway. We were pretty sure that the mare was unable to go anywhere but traffic safety was our first priority.

View of the situation upon arrival.

The physical layout as shown in Google Street View.

We carefully constructed a corral, starting from the highway side. The mare naturally moved away as far as the wire would allow. Once we constructed two sides, with the building forming the third side, we placed a little hay inside the corral and using construction netting, moved the horse inside the panels.

Constructing the containment corral.

The brand inspector arrived and parked his truck against a corral panel that had been placed against the front of the building, and we added panels to the back side, totally enclosing the mare. One additional panel was attached at 90 degrees to the last panel that was placed against the side of the building to act as a brace. The horse was now inside a 24 ft. by 24 ft. enclosure.

At this point we had a couple of choices. We could either cut the wire running from the roof and squeeze the panels down to try to remove the entanglement from the mare's legs, or leave her tethered and see if we couldn't untie the mess with the wire from the roof still attached and limiting her movement.

We opted to first try untangling the wire. Oftentimes horses that have been tangled up for some time tend to get quiet if they aren't being startled. The brand inspector and a responder entered the enclosure and the mare wasn't too reactive so long as we didn't get too close.

Letting the mare settle with two people in the enclosure.

Fortunately the wire was high grade, so it had quite a bit of "memory." It also was darn near impossible to cut. We needed to shorten about 12 feet of wire that extended past the snare and was laying on the ground. All the various size bolt cutters would do is mash the cable. We did eventually manage to cut it strand by strand with a small pair of diagonal wire cutters which took some time.

With the trailing end of the wire cut we were able to "push" the wire toward the mare's leg and we noticed that doing so tended to slightly loosen the loops. The brand inspector used a J-hook to pull out each loop as it loosened and draw the wire through.

Working the loops with a J-hook.
Pulling the wire through the loosened loop.

We were worried about the last loop that was embedded into the horse's leg but it worked free without a great degree of difficulty.

The mare was now free and we observed her for a time to ensure that she was able to be returned to the range.

Transport 4 had also been requested. Once it arrived we fashioned a chute, loaded the mare into the trailer, and returned her to her home range a couple of miles south of the highway.

Walking off in search of her band.

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