Monday, January 14, 2019

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Tucker is Putnam County’s ‘wonder-horse’

Tucker, not known as a "mudder" is doing well after a close call in deep mud

PATTERSON – Tucker, a magnificent mount owned by Ann Jamieson, is without doubt Putnam County’s miracle horse.

On the final Saturday of 2018, Tucker was being ridden by a friend of Jamieson in Wonder Lake State Park in Patterson when the grandson of Secretariat, the Triple Crown winner known as one of the world’s greatest horses, became mired in muck and brambles when it attempted to go for a swim.

Thanks to the efforts of some four dozen emergency responders from fire departments in Patterson, Putnam Lake, Carmel, Lake Carmel and Pawling along with the Westchester Technical Rescue Squad that worked for more than four hours, Tucker was removed from the frigid water before being taken to an equine center in Patterson for intensive care.

Tucker’s paddock is in a stable off South Road in a remote section of Holmes and that is where Jamieson relived the story that almost claimed her buddy’s life.

Jamieson purchased the then three-year-old Tucker from a farm in the Village of Florida 23 years ago. “At the time Tucker was lame yet there was something special about him. We connected and I took him home and we have been inseparable ever since,” she said. “Tucker is truly phenomenal.”

Although his racing days ended due to the leg injury, Tucker could be ridden and shown. Jamieson has won a “ton of ribbons” over the years, according to his owner, including Best in Show at the nationally acclaimed Devon Horse Show in Pennsylvania.

Fast forward to December 29.

Around 5 in the afternoon, Jamieson received a call from her friend advising that Tucker had become stuck in mud. “I was told that the fire department was summoned. When she sent me a photo I said, ‘Oh my God!’ I had to be at his side and raced from my home in Kent, Connecticut to the scene.”

When Ann arrived she couldn’t believe the sight. “Rescue vehicles were everywhere. Lights were flashing; people were running about; emergency radio traffic was deafening.”

Jamieson was taken to a command officer and was placed in a four-wheel off-road vehicle. “The track was so rough that the driver told me to ‘hang on over the side’ so the vehicle would not overturn.”

When she saw Tucker up to his chest in freezing water and thick mud, “I absolutely lost it. His head was resting on a branch. I went over to him and began petting his frozen body. I gave him a cookie and when he nibbled at it, I said to myself ‘He’s going to make it!’” Jamieson recalled.

When initial attempts by firefighters to retrieve Tucker from the frigid water and muck failed, she suddenly began to panic. “I couldn’t watch fearful of what the result might be.”

One of the responders donned an ice rescue suit and went into the water to place a harness around the horse’s belly.

“I was so impressed by that. These guys risked their own lives to save my Tucker. It was remarkable,” she said.

After Tucker was sedated and removed from the frigid water with the use of plywood and backboards used by EMS to assist victims of auto mishaps, a nearby property owner provided the horse with a thermal blanket while allowing the rescue party to enter her property and use a private road. This permitted the emergency responders to remove Tucker in a construction trailer to the New England Equine Center in Patterson where the horse was administered massive doses of medications to ward off hypothermia, shock and the fear of bacterial infection due to the contents of the water and mud.

Twelve hours later, with the assistance of a hoist, Tucker managed to stand and started eating.

Jamieson said the veterinarians were “truly amazed at how quickly he bounced back. He comes from tough stock alright. Remember who he comes from. Tucker has Secretariat’s fight in him.”

Medical costs to save Tucker have been astronomical and Jamieson has created a GoFundMe page for those desiring to assist with the spiraling veterinary bills.

 


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