A Norwegian Fjord horse who had been missing for several days in Redmond, Wash. was successfully rescued today by the Washington State Animal Response Team (WASART). According to the Redmond Reporter, the horse was rescued after 12 hours of work from crews with eight different agencies.
The search was aided by an animal communicator who helped determine the horse’s location. On Tuesday, May 28, KIRO 7 News reported that animal communicator Joan Ranquet was integral to the search for the missing horse, named Gemma.
After hours of fruitless searching, the horse’s original owner and breeder, who was part of the search party. called Carnation, Wash. animal communicator Joan Ranquet.
“They thought to contact me because they were at such a loss – it was so weird – there was just no sign of her,” Ranquet recalled this evening.
“They called me last night and I did a quick phone session after they sent me a photo of the horse.
“It’s not necessarily giving a lot of information; it’s giving just a little bit of information that will save an animal’s life. I couldn’t stress enough the presence of rushing water,” Ranquet recalled.
Ranquet sensed that the horse was in a small enclosed place with strong rushing water and traffic noise.
Barbara Linstedt, who owns Saddle Rock Stables, then stated: “Oh my gosh, follow me.”
The search party drove into the property and looked over the ledge, where they found Gemma. The Norwegian Fjord, who initially went missing on Monday, had been grazing on the edge of a ravine when she fell in near Northeast 115th St.
“She fell over a big downed tree,” stated Gemma’s owner, Nikki Elin.
Once she found Gemma, Elin stayed by her horse’s side until she had to move for the rescue to proceed.
“I have no idea how she survived, let alone didn’t break a couple legs.”
Ranquet, who had never been involved with a rescue quite like this, stated:
“One woman told me, ‘I truly believe you saved Gemma. Thank you.’
“This honestly makes me want to cry in the greatest way,” Ranquet added.
A WASART team of 8 responded to check out the incident. According to WASART, the team called in one more member who was especially experienced with rigging to help advise. Due to the conditions, the rescue was delayed until 6:30am, when light would help keep everyone safe. During that time, Elin remained by her horse’s side.
Fjords like Gemma are small but sturdy horses. Tipping the scales at approximately 800 pounds, rescuing the horse from the 70-foot ravine was no small feat. Veterinarian Tom Hansen went into the ravine and sedated Gemma to ensure that she wouldn’t thrash while she was rescued.
According to WASART, the final effort involved a vertical lift. The pony was rigged using firehose and lifted straight up the ravine. Firehose is used for its strength and flatness, which helps distribute the weight of a large animal to keep it secure and comfortable.
Nine agencies were on-scene, including King County 4×4 Search and Rescue, Eastside Search and Rescue, and the Redmond Fire Department.
A total of sixty people participated in lifting the horse out.
WASART Spokesperson Gretchen McCallum said: “She’s safe and doing well. She’s a little thin, very hungry, and curious as to what all the attention is about.
“We’re pleased with the outcome for this horse and especially the rescuers. This was a technically difficult situation and safety is always our priority. We are grateful to everyone who helped. We are fortunate to have such great partners.”
The rescue was completed around 3 p.m. today. Gemma was tired, but other than a scratch on her face, she had no other injuries.
According to WASART, search members are now enjoying a well-deserved rest after a successful rescue. Congratulations and thank you to all involved.
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