Horse rescued from slick, saturated mud in mountains

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. -- Recent rain has saturated the Santa Cruz Mountains. Landslides and flooding have been normal, but Tuesday there was a different kind of hazard -- firefighters had to help rescue a horse that got stuck on a muddy trail.

A horse was laid out on her side in what can be best described as quicksand in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

"She's lying in water," said Cal Fire Battalion Chief Aldo Gonzalez. "Holding her head up with the bridle, I guess. The horse was exhausted from battling for an hour, an hour and 20 minutes to get out of the water."

Gonzalez got the call around 2:30 p.m. He knew he was looking at a dangerous situation. "You don't know what an animal's thinking when you try and help them," he told ABC7 News. "They're looking for a way out. You could get a hoof in the stomach or take a blow to the face."

He quickly came up with a plan. "We woticed the water was draining toward the horse from the creek and we diverted the water flow from draining toward the horse, away from the horse."

When the water receded the soil firmed up. The six-year-old horse was able to get her footing and stand. The horse and rider were able to walk out of the situation, with strict directions from the battalion chief to get home and get warm.

Gonzalez feared hypothermia, but the horse appeared unharmed.

"It was great," the battalion chief added. "Monet was the horse's name, kinda put a smile on my face."

The rescue is a happy ending, but it comes with a warning -- be extra careful on saturated roads and trails.
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