Horsegate 2013

How long would it take to remove a 300-pound gate your horse has decided to wear as a necklace? That’s the conundrum firefighters faced on Monday in Palmer, Mass. (Fortunately there was no photobombing cow involved.)


Arthur, foreground, no longer a gated horse

[Blue Star Equiculture]

Clearly, Arthur believed the grass was greener on the other side.

The Belgian draft horse greeted firefighters “wearing a gate as a necklace,” Bondsville Fire Chief Scott D. Gustafson told

The 18-year-old retired logging horse apparently panicked when he got his rather large cranium stuck in the gate. So, “he pulled the hinges right off the wall,” said Paul D. Moshimer, the manager of Blue Star Equiculture, the draft horse sanctuary where Arthur arrived last week with his partner, Kelly.

The gate was about six feet long, four feet high and weighed a few hundred pounds–a heavy choice for an equine accessory, even for a draft horse.

Another instance of a horse making a poor choice of neckware

Another instance of a horse making a poor choice of neckwear


Ten firefighters used the Jaws of Life to remove the gate. They were able to get the job done in about 30 minutes. Arthur was unharmed. Meanwhile, Congress is taking longer to address a bill meant to protect another kind of gaited horse, scrutinizing the practice of soring in Tennessee Walkers.

Arthur’s situation begs reference to another larger than life Arthur, the Camelot King, who revealed his royal potential by extracting his sword Excaliber from a stone. No Jaws of Life were used at the time.

Once freed, the equine Arthur ambled off to join Kelly in the pasture where the two horses stood off by themselves. “I imagine she was yelling at him for being dumb,” said Gustafson.

It was a busy week for horse-extracting heroes around the world. It took two fire crews, an animal rescue unit and a vet to remove a horse with three legs stuck in a cattle guard in the U.K.  After the vet sedated the horse, crews cut away the metal guard, the firefighters put a sling under the horse and pulled him to safety. Yet another reason to love firefighters.

british crew

Photo: Cheshire Fire and Rescue

Photo: Cheshire Fire and Rescue

Go Riding.


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