Emergency workers labored to rescue the animal safely from an 8-foot hole on the farm off Curtis Road in east Cherokee County, but despite their efforts the horse succumbed to the stress of the ordeal.
Patty Sloan, owner of Timber Ridge Farms in Canton, said the horse, named Glory, died just before Sloan could get her to the University of Georgia veterinary hospital in Athens.
Sloan said the 4-year-old horse likely died from a combination of stress and the medications administered to her to calm her down during the rescue process.
“Horses just can’t handle that kind of stress,” said Sloan, who has owned the farm for the past 25 years.
Tim Cavender, spokesman for Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services, said emergency personnel responded to a call Monday night at the farm on Curtis Road just shortly before 7 to find the horse unable to get out of an 8-foot-deep hole.
Cavender said Cherokee County’s Special Operations Chief Darrell Mitchell asked 911 to contact the large animal rescue team from Milton County Fire Department and Rescue to assist with the rescue.
Brittany Holt, the teenager who was riding the horse at the time of the incident, told officials she and eight of her friends were riding horses when she noticed two of the horses in front of her seemed unstable.
When Glory rode toward the others, Brittany said she felt the ground beneath her horse give way and start to sink, but she was able to dive off the horse just in time.
But as Glory began thrashing to get out, the horse started to sink even deeper.
Cavender said the large animal rescue team constructed an A-frame above the hole and had to dig mud away to put a harness around Glory to finally pull her out at about 9:40 p.m.
Glory was then placed on a sled and pulled out of the woods. Sloan attempted to transport the horse to the University of Georgia veterinary hospital to be evaluated, but Glory died before she could get her there.
“Unfortunately she didn’t make it,” Sloan said. “But it wasn’t for a lack of trying.”
Sloan said the more than 20 people involved, including firefighters and a local veterinarian, all worked hard to save Glory.
“There are so many benefits to raising horses and this is one of the downsides,” Sloan said. “It’s very sad.”
Sloan said everyone at Timber Ridge Farms is mourning the loss, but said she was happy none of the teens were injured during the ordeal.