Dexter appears to have weathered his traumatic incident without injury.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Randy Cormier sent out plea for help over Facebook on Sunday.
More than 40 responded to Brookside Farm to help Dexter, a Belgian draft horse, out of a freezing ditch to safety.
Owners Cormier and Heidi White said they are extremely thankful for the help of the Lanesborough Volunteer Fire Department, the Lanesborough Police Department, Sayers Auto Wrecking, friends and family, and strangers.
"I was overwhelmed, it's just something to be said for small towns and animals," Cormier said.
The two were leaving the farm after a daily feeding when they noticed that Dexter had found himself at the bottom of a rocky brook and was unable to get up. The ditch was so deep that the horse could barely be seen.
"He was down but he didn't seem like he was hurt or anything," Cormier explained.
"He was just laying down in the, it's like a little brook, it's muddy and it is rocky and that's what scared us because it was a lot of rocks so we didn't know if he hit his leg on anything."
The two repeatedly tried to rescue him themselves but soon realized they needed help.
Dexter tips the scales at about 2,500 pounds and, because of his size, getting up expels a lot of energy.
"He tried several different times, it was just me and her there, he tried and tried and we could tell that for some reason he just couldn't catch his ground, he just couldn't stand up," Cormier explained.
"I don't know if it was because it was in a ditch and it was on a hill."
Cormier posted a call for help on his Facebook page reading: "Our horse fell in a ditch and it's just two of us trying to get him up time is of the essence please help if you can!!!!!"
He also called his brother Jerry Cormier and nephew Tyler Cormier, who rushed over. Even with the extra manpower, they were not able to get Dexter out of the ditch and the horse was becoming at risk in the freezing temperatures.
"The biggest thing was he was starting to freeze, he was shivering and we had to get him out of that cold freezing water," Cormier explained. Throughout the incident, he and White attempted to warm the horse with blankets.
When people started showing up in response to the social media post, Cormier said his mind was blown.
"From that, I'm not kidding you I had people start calling right away, I put my phone number on there, people I didn't know, people I knew, people that had been tagged on Facebook saying, 'hey, you know about horses,' or 'You live in Lanesborough,' whatever the thing may be," he said.
"But we had people as far as like Windsor and Goshen saying they're on their way, and tons of people from Lanesborough."
All of a sudden dozens of people were there. The town's Fire Department really stepped up to the plate and took control of the situation, he added.
"Many hands make for light work and I appreciate the incredible response," said Fire Chief Jeff Dechaine. "Problems come in all shapes and sizes and it feels good knowing we have a team that gets the job done. We made a lot of people (and one horse) super happy."
Sayers also showed up with a tow truck and between the wrecker, some wide straps from the Fire Department, and about 20 people, Dexter was pulled out.
"Through the efforts of the tow truck, getting him out a little bit, and then literally, we had straps around him, and probably 15 to 20 of us were on one end and another group was holding his legs up on the other end, firemen," Cormier said.
"And we dragged him out onto that embankment up into flat land and five minutes later, he just stood up on his own like nothing had ever happened."
Dexter was down for a total of about two hours. This reportedly shows his strength because horses are normally not supposed to be down for that long.
The couple was stunned by the community outpouring that came from a single Facebook post. Cormier pointed out that the event happened on a Sunday, a day off for many of the people who showed up for the effort.
It was a very emotional day as well.
The couple owns two horses boarded at Brookside Farm, Dexter and Kiki, but Dexter is technically White's horse and Kiki is Cormier's.
He said the horses are family and it was so heartbreaking to see a loved one struggling.
Thankfully, Dexter came out of the incident with no injuries and was chowing down on hay soon after. Cormier has posted regular updates on Facebook that confirmed the horse is in good health and spirits.
To thank the first responders, Cormier and White would like to find a way to raise money for the Fire Department to acquire a proper hoist for moving large animals. This equipment could be useful for the many farms that are located in the county.
"I know how scary it is just being in that situation, and I know that there's so many horse people around here and their animals are their life," Cormier said. "It could happen to anybody."