Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service would like to highlight the importance of making regular checks of horseboxes and trailer's following a spate of serious incidents in the county.
Firefighters rescued a 15 year old horse stuck by its off hind in a horsebox last month in King Somborne, Hampshire. Control Room operators received the 999 call at 23:00 on Thursday, 26 June and were alerted to a trapped 16.1 hand Irish draft cross called Argyll. On arrival, crews requested the attendance of an ambulance for the owner, who was suffering from serious facial wounds sustained in an attempt to rescue her horse. The Animal Rescue Team, supported by vet Alix Jackson from Stable Close Veterinary Practice released Argyll, cutting away the wood and steel frame to extricate the horse, which had to be heavily sedated whilst trapped in the horsebox.
In a similar recent incident, a New Forest Ponys leg dropped through the floor of a horsebox - much to the distress of the owner who witnessed the incident from the vehicle behind.
On Friday, 11 July, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to an incident on the A303 when an Irish Sport Horse punched its way through two partitions of its horsebox. Two young ladies were injured during the incident; one with a broken hand and one with a suspected broken foot. The horse, standing 16.3 hands high, had become highly distressed when its tail bandage had got caught. The ladies injuries were sustained as a result of trying to assist the animal inside the box.
A Fresian gelding also launched itself over the partition of a lorry at Rownhams Services on the M27 recently. The horse tumbled out through the back door of the van onto the tarmac. Again, in an attempt to calm the situation the driver sustained a suspected broken foot and the horse had to be sedated in order to return it to the box.
This week a 14hh coloured filly did exactly the same thing, this time in a stable yard. By calling the emergency services and vet early however, this situation was calmly resolved without human injury.
Watch Manager Jim Green said:
"Any animal trapped in a confined space presents a highly dangerous, unpredictable situation. This type of incident requires the immediate attendance of a trained animal rescue team, working closely with a vet who will assist with chemical restraint, triage and aftercare. Animals in distress cause people to rush in to help but this may well lead to serious personal injury as the recent incidents show. We would urge owners not to enter any confined space with a distressed horse."
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service urges horse and pony owners to think about the following tips to ensure their journey is uneventful and if a situation does arise that they can react positively and calmly - don't wait until you are parked on the side of a busy road with an explosive situation developing!
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service offers the following top tips for horsebox safety:
"The next time you are busy checking over your horse or pony, please spare a thought for the horsebox or trailer in which it has to travel. Reports of floors giving way while horses are in transit are not uncommon and can result in serious injury. Remember - your horse's safety depends on you, so please make a date in your diary to check your lorry, van or trailer every month.