Happy as a bluebird, a 30-year-old horse named Nate was nibbling his way through acres of emerald pasture when his legs slid down a muddy hole that wasn’t there just seconds earlier. It seems that dear Nate was swallowed by one of Florida’s notorious sinkholes.
“We all were in the main alpaca pasture passing out carrots when someone looked over and said, ‘What’s wrong with Nate?” explains Maryann Marsh, co-owner of the TMMA Farms alpaca farm. “I looked over into the next pasture and all I could see was the top of his neck and head!”
Maryann ran across the pasture in a panic and found Nate in what looked like a sitting position. He was down in a hole as tall as a man.
“I yelled for everyone to get Marty!” Maryann continues. “Marty and I have been working on our old farm house and that weekend was supposed to be putting new roofing on the front of the house. Marty was up on the roof putting up new tin. He came running and was shocked at what he saw. He ran to the neighbors for help.”
The neighbors brought in a Bobcat to dig around Nate while Maryann held his head and reassured her beloved horse that he would be all right. As more and more friends and neighbors arrived to help, they kept digging and digging and digging. They placed a ramp in front of Nate with the hope that he could make it up the steep incline, but alas, the horse couldn’t stand. Maryann decided it was time to call in reinforcements and she dialed 911. “I can only imagine what the 911 operator was thinking when this crazy woman is calling about her horse in a hole,” Maryann laughed.
Quickly, the Wildwood Fire Department converged on scene and joined the big dig. They secured straps underneath Nate to help lessen his weight so that he could straighten his legs and emerge.
Maryann had gone off to find the veterinarian and wasn’t there at the precise moment that Nate was rescued. But when she arrived on scene minutes later, there was a rush of warm emotion.
“I had kept my cool the entire time but once I saw Nate out of the hole, I ran over and gave him a big hug and he gave me his usual huge nudge with his head against my chest,” Maryann said. “I broke down and balled my eyes out. I was overwhelmed with joy.”
Nate is reportedly doing just fine now. He spent the night on intravenous fluids while he enjoyed a bounty of peanut hay, and by morning he was ready for his grain.