Friday, January 13, 2006

Amber Alert

The call went out around 9 A-M in the little Alamance County community of Swepsonville just south of Interstate 85.

All available units were needed....The Sheriff's Department, the Rescue Squad, the Fire Department, a boat with a couple of swimmers, Animal Control officers and a veterinarian.

It was an Amber Alert of unusual proportions.

Amber Horse (1)

If you look, really, really hard in the highlighted box you won't see much because of my distance from her and the low rez nature of the cell phone camera, but take my word for it, Amber is there and she is in the water.

Amber Horse

Maybe this shot is's a screen shot from the LCD on the side of my XDCam.

Amber is a 20-something-year-old thoroughbred Mare, and she's blind. She wandered to a far corner of her pasture next to the river and stumbled in a hole and fell into the river.

Five miles downstream her owner and the assembly of rescue volunteers caught up with Amber, who was swimming back and forth, looking feeling for a place to exit the chilling water of the Haw River.

Using the rescue boat and a couple of ropes Amber was coaxed to the shore. Getting her up the steep, muddy, bank would be another story.

Amber struggled time after time for more than an hour to exit the swift current of the swelled river, but with her hoofs slipping and sliding and her strength waning her human helpers had to come up with a different solution.

They decided best course of action would be to use the ropes and a lot of muscle (and a tractor hooked up to the ropes) to pull her from the water.

A couple of large heave-hoes and Amber was pulled up onto the riverbank, shaking and trembling from the cold and exhaustive effort she had put forth to survive.

They tried to coax Amber to stand up and walk up the hill to level ground which leads out of the woods but the horse was just too tired and not positioned well to push her massive body up from the ground.

After more than an hour of resting on the riverbank more roping was tethered around the horse and the tractor was attached to the rope to pull Amber up to level ground. A shot of medicine from the veterinarian and some carrots brought to the scene by a neighbor and Amber was almost ready to stand and walk away from this trying ordeal.

To get her on her feet the tractor was used again, this time lifting her with the frontloader scoop attached the the homeade rope harness.

Amber bucked to life and stood there for a few minutes as the rescue parties let out a few well deserved woo-hoos and finally after almost 6 hours since she fell in the cold water of the Haw River, Amber was on her way home.

The Amber Alert was over.

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