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Weekend rescuers save horse in basement, buried kittens, trapped ducklings

Stallion got trapped because he was distracted by love, owner says

Published: Monday, May 28 2012 3:04 p.m. MDT

Samantha Winburn visits with her horse, Himself, who fell through a window well into her basement in Herriman on Monday, May 28, 2012.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

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HERRIMAN — Memorial Day weekend was a rough one for a handful of Utah animals.

Between a horse that fell into a Herriman basement, kittens buried under a new concrete garage floor in West Jordan, and five baby ducks trapped in a storm drain in Sugar House, rescuers were kept busy but managed to save all the animals.

• A large Arabian horse, called Himself, got himself trapped in a window well, and then a basement Sunday evening. But his owner said the incident began earlier, when the horse tried to show off for a romantic partner.

The horse had been bred with a bay mare named Badella Saturday, owner Samantha Winburn said. She thinks he was daydreaming about the encounter when he wandered, grazing, into the backyard.

"I think that's why he came into the yard," Winburn said. "And I think he just flipped around, showing off for her, and that's when he fell into the window well."

Unified police responded to the Herriman home around 7 p.m., found the horse trapped in the well and called for help.

"They called in their animal control folks to try and extricate the horse out of the window well with no success," Unified Fire Capt. Lee Escarte said. "The horse ended up kicking the window out and going into the basement."

But Himself still had Badella on his mind, Winburn said. Once Himself was in the house, he was still looking for his paramour.

"When he came out of the window and finally stood up, first thing he did was walk to the other window and called to her, in spite of all his injuries and cuts and bruises," Winburn said.

They tried to coax the horse up the stairs of the home, but it was too claustrophobic for the animal. He wasn't in any hurry, either.

"Oh, he was fine down there," Winburn said. "I think he was casing it out, you know. It was like a bachelor pad or something. And I thought, 'No, you need to go out. Go back to your room.'"

At that point, Unified fire crews and their heavy rescue team were called in to assist and they called a veterinarian. Escarte said the team came up with two plans and allowed Winburn to make the call.

"We had the veterinarian tranquilize the horse while our heavy rescue company set a haul system to remove the horse from the basement," he said.

They broke out a window, removed part of the home's deck and brought in a backhoe to dig a trench that would allow them to get Himself out of the basement. Winburn said her horse was then put on a sled and taken out of the home.

"I'm glad my horse is still alive," she said afterward. "He fell in the window well and these fantastic firemen and policemen and the vets, everyone came out. It was a concerted team effort."

Escarte said the whole incident lasted around two hours and caused a couple thousand of dollars in damage to the home. Although there was concern about Himself's age, which at 26 is akin to a 70-year-old human, the horse seemed fine.

"This is actually a very positive outcome," Escarte said, adding that the horse was up and walking around after the medication wore off. "It doesn't happen too often, but they adapted to the situation and it all worked out in the end."

Winburn said the animal is a rare creature with a sire raised in Egypt and descendants in Kuwait. His full name is Emire Idn Farzdak and Winburn considers him her soulmate. Sunday's incident had her "terrified."

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