#StormBrian: Limerick volunteers rescue stranded horse from flooded field

Maria Flannery


Maria Flannery



#StormBrian: Limerick volunteers rescue stranded horse from flooded field

The mare was stranded on a piece of land after a river burst its banks and flooded the field

A GROUP of dedicated volunteers in Limerick carried out a dramatic rescue of a stranded horse after a river burst its banks.

Volunteers from Horse Education Limerick Project Southside (HELPS) and Limerick Animal Welfare (LAW) waded across waters in Castleconnell to rescue the piebald after the alarm was raised on Saturday.

In a post on Facebook, HELPS outlined the mission in which four people attended the animal that was “trapped on a small patch of ground surrounded by water”.

“She was in trouble, the bank had burst, the heavy rain still pelting down and water rising even further - she had nowhere to go but drown if she was left there,” they wrote.

Having reached the first mare, they also heard that there were two foals and another mare supposedly in the field.

“Having secured the mare on a tiny bit of ground, we then sloshed on through the water and weeds trying to find the others. It became more difficult the further up we went,” they said, because “a step wrong” would plunge the volunteers into “the fast flowing river”.

The group got word that the foals and mare had already been moved, so they returned to the first horse and led her out.

The group does not have the authority to seize a horse, so they found an area of high ground with secure fencing to leave her.

“Boy was she happy, she galloped up and down, done a couple of bucks, then started to eat the grass,” wrote the group on social media.

LAW chairperson Marion Fitzgibbon explained how horses who are stuck in floods could face death if they are not rescued.

“The riverbank burst there the other night, and if horses don’t get out of there they’ll drown. We had one of our volunteers who went out into the river, and it’s highly dangerous because when the whole area is flooded, you could be on the river bank and if you take two steps to the left, you could be down in the river. You can’t see the surface,” she said.

“There were all boggy holes and marshland, so you could get stuck in the mud, and that’s what’s happening to the horses. They are getting stuck in the mud and they can’t move, they get cold from standing in water, and they get panicked because they are stuck in the ground,” she added.

The HELPS volunteers notified the owner to attend to the mare the next day, and the group is urging people to make sure they check their animals daily to ensure their safety.

“Please try follow our advice - help us to help you,” they said.