Emma submitted this story after a dramatic afternoon. These are her words, except where the sentence is enclosed by brackets [ … ].
Emma R. (me) and Jenny (my horse) and Tami S. and Blu (Tami’s horse), went on a nice trail ride. Wide trail, we rode side by side most of the way, also fresh tire tracks on this trail. We got to the end, turned, Tamis horse, Blu stepped off by a step or two as she turned. Her leg sank. Blu, stumbled as she tried to recover, ended up deeper in clay like mud. Blu was stuck chest and butt high.
[On the day of the incident, August 18, Emma wrote the following dramatic account.] THE DAY STARTED OUT AS A PERFECT TRAIL RIDE. WE CAME TO THE END OF THAT TRAIL. WENT TO TURN AROUND AND BLU ( 27 YEAR OLD HORSE) STEPPED INTO PLANTS AND STARTED TO SINK AND STUMBLE. AS SHE TRIED TO RECOVER. SHE ENDED UP FALLING DOWN SIDEWAYS, AND SHE SANK. TAMI ( OWNER) FELL OFF INTO ABOUT AN INCH OF WATER. THE STUGGLE TO TO GET BLU OUT WAS ON. BLU WAS SO DEEP INTO THE CLAY LIKE MUD, WE COULD NOT BREAK THE SUCTION, SHE WAS DOWN TO HER BUTT AND CHEST, AT THAT POINT THERE WAS ONLY ABOUT AN INCH OF WATER. THAT WAS WHEN WE CALLED 911. IT WAS ABOUT 2PM. I THINK IT WAS ABOUT 4PM WHEN BLU WAS FINALLY OUT.
We tried to help her move, we were up to our hips. Blu could not move. We took the halter and lead off my horse, crawled out to Blu, put it on her, but we had no leverage. My horse took off, I had no way of tying her.
We called 911. After being put on hold forever, being transfered, calling other people, we were finally connected to Humane Society.
I then had to leave Tami to go find help. I didnt think that anyone not from the valley could find us. I had to leave Tami, with her horse stuck in the mud, and no cell phone.
My horse was found, person called Park Service, they found me and went to go help Tami. I think they found me because John (TRVEA) was doing his magic on the phone. Happy Trails connected with Humane Society after I talked to one of the guides out on the trail. Happy Trails then found me, and took me and Humane Society back to Tami.
When I left Tami, Blu was in the mud, not the water. When I finally got back, the tide had come up, so Blu’s head was just above the water line.
The picture that you see is after all the help came and Blu started to struggle. She was able to move a few feet forward. I think that the water helped break the suction. The water at this point was only maybe 6″ deep. The rest of her is still stuck in the mud.She had been stuck for about 2 hours.
We all made it out with just a few scratches and very muddy. [Here’s what was learned (and re-learned).]
1. Make sure that a halter and lead rope was something to take on a ride. It would be nice that people you are riding with had that also.
2. A cell phone on your person, not the horse. [Each rider should have a cell phone — one that stays with the horse and one that goes for help.]
3. Programmed numbers to Humane Society horse rescue. It took a very long time of being put on hold, then waiting for different agencies to call us back after calling 911.
4. Riding with other people is always better than by yourself
5. Maybe Happy Trails #, he knows the valley, and has off road golf carts.
6. John from TRVEA #, to help coordinate it all, of course we would be members.
7. Stay on trails !!! We did, but stepped off while making a turn. That was all it took. Trail was not even wet. Horse struggled and went in the wrong direction.