By Aimee Dolloff
Wednesday, June 13, 2007 - Bangor Daily News
BANGOR - In a strange sequence of events Monday, Kurt Smith, owner of Essex Stud Arabians boarding and breeding facility, discovered that 2-month-old foal Matinicus Rock had fallen into a 12-foot-deep abandoned well.
No, Lassie didn’t come running to inform him of the accident — but close.
Smith was working in the yard around 10:30 a.m. when his border collie, Molly, came running and barking.
"She baby-sits the baby horse and looks right after her," Smith said.
The foal’s mother, Czarah, was in the field whinnying and obviously upset, Smith said.
When he went to see what was wrong, Smith couldn’t find the foal, whose nickname is Mati.
"I heard the baby screaming, but I couldn’t find her," he said. "When I looked down, I just was amazed."
Smith ran to the house and called the Bangor Fire Department. When firefighters arrived with a ladder, he went down into the well, slid ropes around Mati’s front legs and hindquarters and was able to pull her out of the well, "no worse for the wear," he said.
If a horse falling in a well isn’t odd enough, Smith and his wife, Denise Mitchell, had watched the news earlier that morning which aired a story about "Baby Jessica" who was rescued after she fell into a well nearly 20 years ago in Texas.
"Then two hours later we had baby Mati," Smith said. "It was déjà vu."
Mati’s owner, Lisa Kelly, arrived at the farm just as Smith and others were beginning to check the filly and make sure she was OK.
"It was unbelievable how it unfolded," Kelly said Tuesday. "I was taking an early lunch, which was just totally out of the clear blue."
Kelly is quite attached to her new baby — Mati is her first foal — and checks on her every afternoon.
When Kelly arrived, she saw the firetruck and noticed commotion as people walked into the side of the arena and toward the stable area.
"I followed everybody and I walked in, and [Smith] was covered, I mean from head to toe, just covered in muck," Kelly said.
She asked what happened and Smith told her Mati had fallen into the well and they’d just rescued her.
"She was walking, which was a big plus," Kelly said. "No hoofs, no horse. She could have died in so many ways."
Mati weighs about 250 pounds and was small enough to fall down the abandoned well that was about 5 feet wide and 12 feet deep. The artesian well had been covered with boards, but the wood had begun to deteriorate. The well shaft was filled in with gravel Tuesday to prevent any future incidents.
At the bottom of the well was 1 to 2 feet of water that was very cold, and Mati was shivering and in shock.
Otherwise, the filly with the white heart centered on her forehead was fine. Two of her legs are still a little swollen, but Kelly said it’s nothing time won’t fix.
"Obviously, I can’t sell her because I’ve gotten myself a little too attached to her for right now," Kelly said. "This is my first baby. She just took my heart. I can’t let her go."
Units from Bangor included: Engine 6 & FC1