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Saving Ziggy: dramatic rescue after horse falls into sinkhole

Randy McDowell went out to feed his horses Tuesday night when he noticed one was missing. What he saw next was shocking.
Saving Ziggy: dramatic rescue after horse falls into sinkhole
Posted at 6:45 PM, Jan 31, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-01 13:47:41-05

BOZEMAN — The McDowells have lived on their property outside of Bozeman for 20 years, and on Tuesday night their horse pen looked a lot different when one of their horses fell into the ground and was saved in a remarkable rescue.

“It's really unbelievable that the horse came out of this without any major injuries,” says Randy McDowell.

McDowell went out to feed his horses Tuesday night when he noticed one was missing. What he saw next was shocking.

He explained, "I stumbled across a hole in the ground that had some steam coming out of it, and by that time it was getting pretty dark. So I went and got a flashlight and I could see the horse in the hole.”

Saving Ziggy: dramatic rescue after horse falls into sinkhole

McDowell called 911 for help getting his horse - named Ziggy - out of the hole that he says was around 15 feet deep.

“It was a complete shock,” says McDowell. “I mean, that area, it's in the horse paddock. I drove my tractor across that area all the time and would have never known that there was a hole underground.”

Central Valley and Bozeman Fire, Best Rate Towing, DC Excavation, Hardaway Veterinary Hospital, and 360 Pet Medical came to assist in rescuing Ziggy.

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DC Excavation’s Donny Freeburn finally got the horse out after hours of digging.

“That's what we did. We basically dug a hole next to the one and then excavated the wall in between and allowed the horse to come out of the hole that he was trapped in,” says Freeburn.

Best Rate Towing’s Paul Johnson says emotions ran high as Ziggy was being rescued, and they couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

“When you're in a life and death situation, whether it's, you know, a horse or a person or whatever, it feels really good to have that outcome,” says Johnson.

McDowell says Ziggy’s recovery is underway.

“He's at the vet right now,” says McDowell, “But doing okay, I think.”


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