Horse Rescue in Sylmar

Sunday, May 7, 2023
The horse was trapped on his back in a narrow trail wedge
Photo Credits: Creative Commons licensed for your use | LAFD Photo

A horse rescue expected to take hours...was successfully completed in only minutes with the horse walking out uninjured.

At 4:34PM on May 7, 2023 the Los Angeles City Fire Department responded to the 14500 block of Olive View Drive in Sylmar for a trapped horse. Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces from both Fire Station 88 and 89 also responded to conduct the technical rescue.

While the rider was uninjured, the horse was stuck inverted in a narrow wedge on the trail. LAFD Air Operations first got visual confirmation of the horse's location while firefighters made the hike in carrying hand tools.

A horse rescue specialist from LA Animal Services Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team (SMART) was able to get on scene quickly and worked together with the firefighters to devise a plan.  A hoist rescue was not possible with the horse on his back and it also takes time to outfit the helicopter with the appropriate gear. The first step was to get the horse on his side so they focused on strategically digging around him.

As they dug, they were able to quickly get it onto its side, in a much safer position.  The SMART member retained control of the horse as the firefighters continued digging.  And suddenly...he was up!

Horse standing up not injured

The horse was able to walk out, appearing to be uninjured.  The tremendous teamwork of all involved brought a swift and happy end to this potentially protracted incident.

Incident photos

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