Newtownforbes-based horse shelter Hungry Horse Outside put a call out on Facebook on Friday, December 27 when five horses became stuck in the River Shannon in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Despite the storm and the freezing temperatures, volunteers Hilary Robinson and Michael Bohan sprung to the rescue and alerted other volunteers and Leitrim Civil Defence to assist their efforts.
After a lot of effort the team managed to get the horses to safety. With the help of Joseph Delaney, his daughter Tara and the Leitrim Civil Defence all of the horses were taken out of the Shannon just before dark.
If it wasn’t for the help of the brave volunteers, these horses would have died in the harsh conditions.
Speaking to the Longford Leader, Hillary said that “without the help of Leitrim Civil Defence we wouldn’t have been able to rescue them.” On their own, they didn’t have any means to rescue the animals, however swimming over to them had crossed her mind; “I had thought of jumping in but I myself would have had to have been rescued.”
The stormy conditions made it difficult for the rescuers to get any help; “We saw two of the horses on the reed bank up to their bellies but couldn’t see the others so we were worried they may have drowned overnight. I rang the guards, the fire brigade, anyone I could think of but we couldn’t get any help because a motorboat would have gotten stuck in the reeds we needed a row boat.”
“Leitrim Civil Defence arrived at half past three, just before dark. We had organised for someone to shoot the horses from a distance because if they stayed there another night it would have been horrendous however luckily it didn’t come to that.”
Nobody has come forward as of yet to claim ownership of the horses but it is being investigated by the Gardaí.
Hungry Horse Outside is an independently-funded equine rescue that works tirelessly all year round for horse and animal welfare. They care for unwanted and abandoned horses in the area and are always appreciative of donations and volunteers.
Two girls, Rachael Stewart and Laura Dooner will take on a skydive to raise money for the sanctuary. For more on the sky dive, see this week’s Longford Leader.
For more information about the centre, visit https://www.facebook.com/HungryhorseOutside.