Caretaker Ann Turner admits that Riatt isn’t the smartest horse in the meadow.
The 25-year-old mare required a helping hand from Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service (AFRS) on Thursday morning when she couldn’t get to her feet.
The same thing happened to the horse just two months ago, shortly after she arrived for boarding on Turner’s Sumas Mountain property.
“I don’t know what her problem is,” Turner laughed the day after the latest incident.
Turner was doing her daily farm chores while Riatt was lying comfortably not far from the fence, where the ground is sloped. Her legs were facing downhill.
Not long afterwards, the barking of Turner’s dogs drew her to the sight of Riatt scrambling to get up. In her panic, she had turned her body around, and her head was now facing downhill – in a repeat performance of her previous predicament.
Turner and a neighbour were unable to move her, and AFRS once again had to be called to the scene.
Deputy Fire Chief Mike Helmer said Riatt’s head was covered to settle her down. Fire crews then dug a small canal under her shoulder area, and slid a two-inch strap around her shoulders. Crews could then move the 1,500-pound horse enough so that she could rise by herself.
Turner was still shaking her head about the incident the next day.
“Most horses have the good sense to lie down in a place where they can get back up,” she said.
Turner joked that she gave Riatt a good talking-to after it was all over, reminding her to think about where she lies down.
“She looked at me like, ‘I know. I forgot.’ ”
Turner surmises Riatt has difficulty getting up due to her right side having been weakened by a suspected prior pelvic injury. She then tries to maneuver to her left side, but being positioned on the hill produces the opposite result.
Turner said she’s not sure what she can do to prevent a third incident, but hopes Riatt has learned from the experiences.
Helmer said “it’s not a huge deal” that AFRS has been called twice to the same incident, but ongoing calls would be a concern.
“If it were to happen again, we’d arrive and speak to the owners and really see about compassionately where the animal’s at and what its takes for Fire Service to show up,” he said, adding that AFRS strives to demonstrate the “utmost compassion” at all times.