When animals are in distress, the OHS Technical Animal Rescue Team (OHSTAR) is ready to deploy. This volunteer team is trained in animal first aid and rescue to help trapped and stranded animals. They coordinate with a network of other agencies throughout the Pacific Northwest that are ready at a moment’s notice to save animals in distress.
On Saturday, May 22, OHSTAR put its resources and skills to work helping a distressed horse. The team received a call that a horse was stuck in deep snow on Silver Star Mountain in Washington. Two women were trail riding along Sturgeon Rock Loop Trail when one of the horses went off the trail and got stuck in deep snow. The horse tried to make it out of the snow, but had exhausted herself and fallen down.
The OHSTAR team got to work contacting nearby Washington agencies to assist with the rescue while also checking in on the riders and horses. Communication with the two riders was difficult due to limited cell service. The riders were also in distress from trying to help the horse out of the snow. As night was falling, the two women were getting cold with no dry clothing.
OHSTAR team member Joe Dickson met the Silver Star Search and Rescue and the brother of the distressed horse’s owner. The group started a two-hour hike to where the riders and horses were located.
When they reached the site, the Silver Star Search and Rescue paramedic and OHSTAR team member Joe determined that the horse could stay and rest on the mountain for the night, but the riders needed to get down as they were suffering from cold, exhaustion and distress. They were brought down, along with the other horse who was in good health. The brother stayed overnight with the exhausted horse, giving her food and electrolytes to build up the strength for the morning’s journey.
The next day, Skamania County Search and Rescue and Silver Star Search and Rescue hiked back to the horse and brother and started making a slow descent down the mountain. OHSTAR team members Joe Dickson, Hobie Pearson, Jenna Cohan, Roark Roberts and Tanya Roberts met the rescue party at the start of the snow line. OHSTAR team member Roark Roberts provided a quick assessment to make sure the horse was okay to continue down. The OHSTAR team then began cleared the trail in front of the horse to make the steep, rocky decline easier.
By mid-afternoon the horse had made it safely to the trail head. Later that day, Joe received a text from the owner saying the horse was recovering at home and thanked him for his help. Thanks to teamwork and collaboration amongst multiple agencies, the horses and riders are safe.
Learn more about how OHSTAR can help you during an emergency and how you can support this team. Visit the OHSTAR web page.