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Horse rescued in Oronoco Township

October 3, 2018

ORONOCO TOWNSHIP — A horse named Shea is doing well Tuesday morning after getting stuck in a trench.

The 13- to 14-year-old Arabian got loose along with two thoroughbreds, Samson and Akila, after Samson broke through a fence where the horses were being boarded, according to their owner, Michelle Palmer.

Olmsted County Sheriff’s deputies were called around 2:15 a.m. to Oronoco Township for the loose horses in the area of 75th Street near 11th Avenue Northwest, according to Capt. Scott Behrns.

Deputies and the person boarding the horses were able to wrangle two of the horses but the third remained missing, Behrns said.

While looking, a deputy heard some noises coming from behind a property in the 7500 block of 11th Avenue Northwest, according to Behrns. The horse had fallen into a large hole with an exposed, but protected, power line and was stuck on the wire, unable to get out, Behrns said.

Rochester firefighters were called to help, as were workers with People’s Energy Cooperative. Firefighters responded around 3:40 a.m., according to Brett Knapp, RFD captain, and found the horse in a trench about five feet deep.

Knapp said the horse had its back legs stuck in mud.

It was around that time that Palmer got the call, too. She said she learned Shea was in a hole but said she wasn’t familiar with any holes in the area. Once Palmer was on scene and able to asses the situation, she called Shea’s veterinarian for help. Shea was given a mild sedative.

“At first I was panicked. He wasn’t just in a hole,” Palmer said. “He was bearing a lot of his weight on a live power line. I was panicked until power people got out there and were able to disconnect it.”

Once power to the line was cut, Palmer said she was confident the crew would get Shea out of the hole.

Firefighters used a strap and pulley system and straw was packed underneath Shea’s back legs to give him more traction, Knapp said. Once Shea was up high enough, Knapp said the horse was able to “self-extricate.”

Palmer said Shea was doing very well Tuesday morning and was able to get out of the incident with only minimal abrasions on his belly.

“He’s doing very well. He is exhausted, obviously. It was a long stressful night for him,” Palmer said.

Palmer said she was extremely grateful for all those who came together and worked as a team to get Shea free.

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