Saving Archie

When young Olivia Blake went to feed her family’s horse Archie, he didn’t canter up for his dinner.

That was unusual.

Olivia’s nan, Pam Blake, said the bay gelding loves his food.

Archie with owner Pam Blake at her Malua Bay property. Archie was rescued after getting trapped in the gully on Monday, February 13.

“Normally he comes for his dinner as soon as he hears the gate open,” Ms Blake said.

Ms Blake said Olivia came back to the house and told her dad Archie was missing.

“My son, Troy, went out to look. He heard Archie snort butcouldn’t see him because of all the vegetation in the gully,” Ms Blake said.

When they found Archie, hemmed in by trees and vines andseveral metres down the property’s steep sided gully, it was obvious the Blakes needed help.

A call to the police referred the Blakes to NSW Fire and Rescue Batemans Bay.

“Bay Fire and Rescue were here in no time,” Ms Blake said.

“We talkedthrough what we could do andcouldn’t do to get Archie free.

“The crew were so considerate and patient. They were open to all our suggestion on how best to rescue Archie.

“I cannot praise them enough,” Ms Blake said.

Fire and Rescue Batemans Bay’s Chris Pearmand and Allan Fitches give Archie a feed after freeing the trapped horse.

Emergency services groups always try and have a veterinarian attend large-animal rescues.

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“When the vet arrived and saw where Archie was stuck, she said: ‘Oh my god’,” Ms Blake said.

Ms Blake didn’t want the 30-year-old horse sedated during the rescue.

“He is an older horse, and sedation is a risk then – also it would have made it hard for him to keep his footing getting out,” she said.

“Plus he is quiet and not scared of noise: when my husband chainsaws the firewood, Archie often sneaks up and gives him a push.”

It was a joint effort to get the gelding freed.

Crew from Fire and Rescue Batemans Bay cleared fallen trees and logs while a vet untangles vines from Archie’s legs and leads him out of the gully.

“While the firies were chainsawing an exit route, the vet was underneath Archie, cutting away the vines from his legs,” Ms Blake said.

Ms Blakehad much needed support from horsey friends,Mary-Rose Whaleand Sharon Gapps, through the resecue.

“They came up to help and keep me calm,” Ms Blake said.

In fact, it was Ms Whale who first introduced Ms Blake to Archie 15 years ago.

“I told her she should buy him,” Ms Whale said.

Archie suffered a slight injury to his hind leg but was otherwise unscathed from his ordeal – a week on he is back to giving the grandchildren pony rides.

Once freed, Archie headed up to the shed for his dinner, hardly affected by the entire episode.

“He was a little in shock but he tucked into his dinner,” Ms Blake said.

Archie loves a carrot – or three!

“He has a bit of swelling with a small injury on hishind leg.

“But he got off lightly.”

The ledge where Archie was trapped was about 4 meters down – the tree that prevented him escaping had been removed and he was lead through the stream and up the other side of the gully.

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