A Penngrove horse fell into a old septic tank early Monday, landing precariously with it's back legs down in the muck.
"I didn't know who to call," said horse owner Linda Day. "I honestly didn't."
She called 911 at about 3:30 a.m. and explained the unusual situation.
Rancho Adobe Acting Capt. Jimmy Bernal and five other firefighters from two stations responded to the Elysian Avenue ranch.
They found Ali, a 9-year-old, barrel-racing quarter horse, in the large hole and Day and other family members anxious for help.
The horse's "back legs were inside the septic tank, which was about six feet deep. The front legs were out of the hole," he said.
Firefighters brainstormed. What could they do at that hour, with what they had available?
"That type of animal, we wanted to do it gently. We couldn't put chains around it," Bernal said.
"Plan A was to use a hose," he said. "Plan B, we'd come up with that after A failed."
With part of a 50-foot hose around Ali's back side, the firefighters took the ends and slowly and gently pulled the tired animal up and back onto solid ground.
"He was pretty dirty, but we got him out. And he was limping a little bit, but he appeared to be OK," Bernal said.
Ali was given two baths and on Monday was in the care of a vet. Day said Ali was doing fine other than some cuts.
Day said Ali apparently got through a makeshift fence around the old septic area, probably seeking green grass.
"They did a really good job," Day said of the firefighters. "We'll get a new septic, and it's going to be barricaded."
For Bernal, it was an unusual rescue.
"Out of 11 years, that was my first horse call," Bernal said. "It was interesting."
You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or firstname.lastname@example.org.