Huge show of community spirit to rescue more than two dozen horses at Millers Forest

Many hands making light work was certainly the case in a mammoth animal rescue at Millers Forest on Saturday.

Thousands of posts have been made on social media of rising floodwaters, swollen rivers, paddocks that have turned into oceans and calls for help to rescue people, and animals in the Hunter Valley who have been cut off by floodwater.

Kate Bohan from Rutherford was scrolling through Facebook on Friday afternoon when she saw photos of horses belly deep in rising floodwater at Millers Forest near Raymond Terrace.

She noticed the owner of one of the horses commented on the post to say she was going out to rescue them.

Kate asked her if she wanted help and before she knew it she was jumping in the car with her husband, her best friend Monique and her husband to go and help.

“We quickly determined this was going to be a very big thing once we got there and we learnt there were 30 horses actually on the property that needed some quick assistance and it all sort of snow balled from there,” said Kate.

As it turned out, access to the horses was too tricky on Friday night. The road they could reach dropped down to waist deep and the current was very strong so they left and came back on Saturday morning.

“On Saturday morning we had so many offers of boats and floats and help from all of the community. We were able to get in touch with the SES who got the Victoria Fire and Rescue crew to come out which was phenomenal because we had 10 or 12 of these big strong men who knew what they were doing with these rubber duckies which was brilliant and boats and stuff,” said Kate.

“We were able to get them out of the water paddock onto a slightly higher dry patch of land and then we were able to get a vet nurse out there to make sure they were okay to walk their way out through the rest of the floodwater.”

“The response was massive and it was pretty instant. As soon as quite a number of posts went up on social media we were getting messages from everyone left, right and centre offering help and their places for accommodation and can we come and help, do you need this or that, it was just amazing and I know Liz Hall was really instrumental with helping with that social media and putting it out there,” said Kate.

From Millers Forest the horses were taken to a property well away from floodwater. Many ended up back with their owners but some were taken to the Newcastle Equine Centre for treatment on cuts and grazes, cellulitus, treatment for high temperatures and dehydration, as well as infections from the floodwater.

Other horses went to stay at a property where they’re being cared for by a young woman named Mia.

“Her [Mia] and her family have done an incredible job and the landowner where the horses are, we can’t thank them enough for their generosity and what they’ve offered for these horses, they’ve made the whole process so much easier. Mia has worked very, very hard over the last two days to make sure these horses are comfortable and safe and that they’re receiving everything that they need,” said Kate.

“I have a long, long list of people that I would love to thank and Newcastle Equine Centre is at the top and Scott from Morpeth vets for coming out so quickly on a Saturday and looking after so many horses,”

“My friends who have been there that whole weekend, Debbie, everyone has been incredible.”

“There’s so many people that need to go on that list!”

Images: Elise Williams, Facebook