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Riverside’s HART Team (Horse & Animal Rescue Team) performs horse rescue.

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STORY UPDATE – April 5th 

Spirit –  Passed away at approximately 11pm on Sunday evening. Spirit had been rescued by helicopter from the steep terrain and then transported to an Animal Hospital. He became septic due to an injury sustained during the accident, and his kidneys also began to fail. A veterinarian euthanized Spirit.

Mo –  Passed away on Sunday afternoon prior to rescue personnel attempting to airlift him from the canyon. Mo was euthanized by a veterinarian and laid to rest in the steep canyon terrain. A piece of his mane and tail were cut and delivered to the owners after his death by the veterinarian. This is custom after the passing of a horse.

Rescue personnel were informed of Spirits death on Monday.

The owners of Mo & Spirit would like to thank all participating agencies that participated in this technical rescue operation for their efforts, and dedication to Large Animal Rescue Training. They hope the death of Mo & Spirit will pave the way for Technical Large Animal Rescue.


On Sunday, April 3, 2016, The City of Riverside’s HART Team responded to Snow Creek just outside of Palm Springs for a Horse Rescue. The horses and owners were on a volunteer mission to deliver some equipment to clean up a hiking trail when 3 horses became stuck on the mountain and injured. Mo and Spirit had fallen down a steep cliff and were unable to access the riding trail.

Due to the steep terrain, Riverside County Sheriffs Helicopter Star 9 airlifted rescue personnel to the scene. Spirit was successfully airlifted to safety and was returned to his anxiously waiting owners. Mo unfortunately succumbed to his injuries prior to being airlifted. The third horse was able to free itself prior to rescue personnel arriving on scene.

The HART Team is based in the City of Riverside and includes Riverside Firefighters, Riverside Police, Riverside County Animal Control, and a Veterinarian. The need for technical large animal rescue was recognized by the Riverside Police Department who partnered with Riverside Fire Department’s Technical Rescue Team to implement HART. The HART team has received specialized training in large animal rescue, helicopter operations, and rope rescue. HART is available 24/7.

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