What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Accident, Horse Trapped in Steep-Sided Pit


Occasionally, a horse may fall into a steep-sided pit.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

your role


What To Do

Before engaging in any attempt to rescue the horse, call 911 and your vet. If the horse is calm, wait quietly until you have assembled a team of people who can help.

If it is possible, heavy equipment may be used to create a trench and ramp that might allow the horse to walk out.

If the horse is in mud or water within the pit, use an inner tube to keep its head and muzzle above water so that it can breathe.

Do not ever pull a horse out forcefully by the head or neck.

What Not To Do

Do not use ramps in most cases, as they tend to break under the heavy load of a horse, making matters worse.

your vet's role

Your vet may anesthetize the horse and allow it to be lifted out using a front end loader and hobbles or thick cotton rope properly applied to the legs.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Can I have your location and directions to get to you as soon as possible?

further reading & resources

Related References:

Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue website. Available at: http://www.tlaer.org. Accessed 2013.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP