A 13-year-old horse named Libby got stuck in the mud Tuesday afternoon at the Burrage Reservation in Hanson, Massachusetts, and was unable to break free.
"It's like seeing your kid going through trauma," said the horse's owner, Gretchen Zwicker. "She's traumatized, she's a very sensitive horse."
Zwicker was out riding when Libby started acting up.
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"She was being naughty," recounted Zwicker. "I was trying to handle her."
And then Libby flipped on her side.
"We went into the water together," said Zwicker. "She was on top of me."
The two ended up in a marsh, with the horse pinning Zwicker in the water.
A friend pulled Zwicker out, and Libby took off deep into the swampy area.
"We could hear her, but we couldn't see her because the vegetation was so dense," Zwicker said.
Zwicker called 911. Rescue crews from the Plymouth County Technical Rescue Team were able to pinpoint her location in the massive recreation area, while veterinarians were called to the scene to sedate the horse to make it safer for both Libby and the rescuers as they got to work.
"The large animal team has specialized tools," said Hanson Fire Chief Jerome Thompson. "Once they got that all hooked up, they were able to hook it to the backhoe and raise the animal up."
There were several challenges -- including finding the location, moving in the equipment, all the mud, and the brush that had to be cut away. And Libby weighs about 1,000 pounds.
"The rescuers were absolutely unbelievable," said Zwicker. "I'll never be able to thank them enough."
Both Zwicker and Libby are sore, but otherwise, there were no serious injuries.