Deschutes County

Rescuers pull 2 horses from deep mud near Sisters

Effort takes hours, volunteers pitch in

SISTERS, Ore. - Deschutes County sheriff's deputies, Sisters firefighters and sheriff's Search and Rescue crews teamed up Saturday on the hours-long rescue of two horses that became stuck in a mud bog up to their chests, deputies said.

The sheriff's office and fire department received a request for help around 12:45 p.m. from Bonnie Malone, 67, of Sisters, who reported she'd been riding in the Windigo Horse Trail area off Forest Service Road 1514 when both horses -- 18-year-old Stella and 29-year-old Middle Rage -- got stuck in the deep mud.

Malone is an experienced rider and familiar with the area, but was caught in an area where a lot of snowmelt had saturated the ground, creating the bog, said Deputy Jeff Winters, assistant SAR coordinator.

With no cell phone coverage in the area, Malone had to leave her two horses to go for help, Winters said.

Sheriff's Search and Rescue was activated to help in the rescue, along with a veterinarian from Bend Equine Clinic.

A team of nine SAR volunteers from the horse, mountain rescue and incident management team was called in, and along with Sisters Fire and Forest Service personnel were able to safely extract both horses from the mud bog and return them to their owners' care.

Reports indicated the horses were freed by about 4 p.m. Neither horse sustained any major injuries, Winters said.

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