Frigid temperatures didn't stop the Mattapoisett Fire Department from helping out a horse who had fallen on Sunday, but wasn't able to will himself up again.

The aging horse, named Ben, fell down on Sunday at the Salty Dog Ranch on Acushnet Road in Mattapoisett. It was the third time in the past month that a horse had fallen on the farm and needed some help.

The horse's owner, Linda Camp, explained that she and her family have rescued more than 20 horses over the past 20 years. She now cares for eight horses, some of whom are categorized as geriatric because of their age.

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Back on January 5, her 24-year-old, 1,800-pound horse named Dan was recovering from a serious foot surgery.

"I found him down in his stall. He was unable to get up because of the protective boot he was wearing from the surgery," Camp said.

The Mattapoisett Fire Department, the horse's vet, the Plymouth County Technical Rescue Team, and Mattapoisett's Animal Control Officer were called to the scene to help. After five hours, the horse was successfully stabilized.

Mattapoisett Fire Rescue via Facebook
Mattapoisett Fire Rescue via Facebook

One week later, 1,200-pound Ben, who is also in his 20s, went down for the first time. Ben is suffering from a chronic leg condition due to his age. His leg is not always mobile because of swelling. Luckily, Ben was able to get up on his own before the response unit showed up.

On Sunday, Ben went down again, and was not able to get back up without the help of the team.

Camp told us that the horses' advancing ages and the bitter cold weather have been a difficult one-two punch this winter.

"As horses get older, they have a harder time staying warm when they can't get out to stretch and move," she said.

Camp's voiced cracked with emotion as she explained her love for her horses.

"These animals are my life. I promise to keep them safe the very best that I can," she said. "They are old, and they have preexisting conditions. The weather is not helping. We're doing the best we can."

Responding to some negative feedback that she saw on social media, Camp was clearly broken up by the idea that someone would think she was abusing her rescue horses.

"It's so hurtful when people say these things," she said. "These animals are my life, I will not tolerate anyone suggesting that I'm abusing them. My horses are very well loved and very well cared for."

Camp said the surgery on Dan's foot alone cost more than $15,000 to save the rescue horse.

Camp expressed gratitude to the Mattapoisett Fire Department and the entire rescue team.

"I told the chief, I have no words that come close to adequate to each and every person that has come to this property to help," she said. "They have all been so comforting and supportive."

She said she wants to cook for them when the situation has settled after the weather warms.

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