It took the combination of volunteers and emergency first responders to rescue a rider and her horse after they fell over a ravine on Sunday.

Just before noon, Cathy Whitney, owner of Whitney Ranch in La Honda, said a renter on her property told her a rider and her horse had fallen off a trail near the ranch.

Cathy and her husband Larry, both retired firefighters from the La Honda Fire Brigade, notified their friend and fellow former firefighter Matt Hanlon who also responded to the scene. The Whitneys also called local veterinarian Kelly Zeytoonian from Starwood Equine and the Peninsula Humane Society, which generated a 911 call that brought the La Honda Fire Brigade, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. Nearby neighbors also dropped by to lend a helping hand.

The rider was able to disentangle herself from the horse when first responders arrived. The horse was lifted out of the ravine with the use of two straps and a backhoe and then placed on a plastic sled. The veterinarian used general anesthesia to calm the horse as rescue efforts continued. Both the unidentified rider and the horse, which is about 30 years old and named Bonnie, are doing well. Cathy Whitney said the horse sustained a few lacerations and abrasions, but was otherwise in good health.

“It was a muddy rescue,” she said. “It is a tremendous success story.”

On Tuesday, Bonnie was being kept at Whitney Ranch while she full recovers from the incident. Cathy Whitney said hikers and equestrians near her ranch should be mindful that trails in the area are muddy and slippery.

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