One senior horse escaped injury, and perhaps death, after the ground it was being ridden on suddenly started to sink. This happened in the Lakeview Terrace area of Los Angeles, where the 20-year-old grey mare, aptly named Lucky, was being ridden in its backyard riding ring when the sinkhole swallowed her, trapping her up to her head. The owner/rider escaped and when it was clear that the horse was unable to get free, they called 911.

Over 50 firefighters responded to the distress call, as did the Los Angeles Animal Services SMART (Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team), who quickly surrounded the 1,200 lb animal. A helicopter also hovered overhead in case a hoist was required to lift Lucky out of the hole.

It was decided that it was in Lucky’s best interest for her to use her own horsepower to get out. So the team used shovels and an excavator to carefully remove some of the soil at the rear of the hole to free her hind legs. Then the team placed straps under Lucky’s belly with the intention of using manpower to help her get footing. A large vacuum truck was also on scene to suck up loose dirt to prevent it from caving in as the horse moved. Eventually, with the help of firefighters, Lucky emerged from the hole unscathed three hours later.

It was thought that recent heavy rains plus an old septic system was to blame for the sudden appearance of the sinkhole.

Video of the rescue here: