Rescuers weren't 'horsing' around when they saved an equine friend

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WARREN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) -- A bond between a horse and its owner is strong. One such owner was beyond worried after she had no clue where her horse 'Clue' was for more than 24 hours. When he was finally located, even more fear set in.

"He's like my child," said Melissa Pace, owner of the horse. "When I found out that he was missing of course, my heart was broken."

The four-year-old horse was finally located nearby, but he was stuck in a sinkhole.

"I wouldn't walk up to the hole because my immediate thought was, is he alive, like I couldn't even see the hole," said Pace.

Rescue personnel was surprised, but was able to assess the situation as soon as they arrived.

"You never really thought that a whole full-size horse could have fallen in this hole, but once he fell in it, it opened up to actually a big cave area," said Jason Duckett, Chief of the Gott Volunteer Fire Department.

The conditions on Saturday were not ideal for a rescue.

"It was cold, rainy, windy, so that was another factor that we were having to deal with at the time," said Duckett.

Nonetheless, the Gott Volunteer Fire Department pressed on.

"We actually dug outside of the actual sinkhole and built a ramp. Once the ramp was dug then we opened up the sinkhole so the horse could get out," said Duckett.

They dug about ten feet under, with help from a local man and his backhoe. Then, Clue made his way out.

"He pretty much walked right out after we put his harness on, so it was very amazing," said Pace. "Something I've never experienced in my life."

"When I saw him coming out of there, I felt like my heart was restored, and I was just so grateful," said Pace.

When Clue broke free, it was the moment everyone was waiting for.

"Dr. Graham was there. The vet checked the horse out and said the horse was fine," explained Duckett.

His owner said he didn't even have a scratch, just a lot of mud.

On Tuesday, Clue enjoyed solid ground on his pasture.

"I'm so grateful that it was a happy ending," expressed Duckett.

All around, a good day, a good rescue, thanks to all the good people involved. The overall rescue took about 30 minutes.

"It's probably one of the best rescues we've done to date as far as time and outcome," said Ducket.

The Gott Volunteer Fire Department is the only fire station to have large animal rescue gear in this region. They received equipment training through state funding.

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