A 1,900 pound draft horse got plenty of help getting back up after a call for help went out on social media.

Shawna Merritt put the call out about Pearl, who lost her footing in the melting ice and mud at Hidden Hollow Farm in Kingston on Wednesday afternoon. She landed on her side as she was being brought in for her nighttime feeding, and help was need to stand her back up.

"The vet administered medication to help calm her. I got over there and we were trying to lift her up but the hard part is that horses are very heavy. Just us pushing her up wasn't working," Merritt told Seacoast Current.

Pearl likely caught the edge of a piece of ice just right and was unsure of her footing and went down to her side.

Merritt and her mom, who owns Pearl along with four other horses at Hidden Hollow, put the call out for help on Facebook. The post was heavily shared, and there were concerns that Pearl would become hypothermic or die from being on the cold ground for a long period of time.

"Next thing I know, 50-plus people there. People just showing up to help. Unfortunately, by the time we got all the people there to help, she was so tired from being on the ice that even with us helping her, she just kept slipping every time she almost got all the way up," Merritt said.

A crowd watches efforts to lift Pearl off the ground
A crowd watches efforts to lift Pearl off the ground (East Kingston Fire Department)
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"We're not putting this horse down"

A call to Rockingham Dispatch brought more help and equipment from the East Kingston Fire Department, led by Fire Chief Ed Warren around 5:15 p.m.

"The chief was awesome. He was so invested in helping the horse. Some people recommended putting her down because it was hard for her to get up, but that was not an option for us," Merritt said. "We knew that once we got her up she would be fine."

Warren took control of the situation and offered his personal assurance that Pearl would survive.

"The East Kingston fire chief said 'we're not putting this horse down. This horse is going to get up and I'm going to make sure of it.' He and his team were great. He brought his own personal front loader from his house," Merritt said.

Warren also called in Patriot Equine Rescue of Topsfield, who brought in slings and sedated Pearl so she stayed calm while Patriot and the East Kingston fire fighters worked together to lift her.

"They got the sling on the horse and they got her lifted with the loader, and then kind of let her stand with the support of the loader until the sedation wore off. Once the sedation wore off she walked back in the barn, we tucked her in, she's still doing great Thursday morning," Merritt said.

Pearl's only injury was a one-inch cut on one of her legs, according to Merritt.

“This rescue required a lot of manpower, teamwork and cooperation, and I thank everyone who assisted throughout the process. I am very happy to report that Pearl is doing well at this time,” Warren said.

Pearl standing after being lifted off the ground
Pearl standing after being lifted off the ground (East Kingston Fire Department)
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Rescued from Amish Country

Merritt said Pearl was rescued from a kill pen in Pennsylvania where she pulled carts for 20 years for the Amish in Pennsylvania.

"They're very notorious for working their animals really hard. We rescue a lot of horses from the kill pens in Pennsylvania. We focus on giving them a better life after retirement. Sometimes they're 14, 15. Sometimes they're in their 20s," Merritt said.

Pearl is a percheron draft horse and has been in New Hampshire since July. She does light trail riding and is happy for the most part, according to Merritt. She's become the favorite of Merritt's two children.

Pearl standing after being lifted off the ground
Pearl standing after being lifted off the ground (East Kingston Fire Department)
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Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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