Teton County Search and Rescue volunteers and Grand Teton National Park rangers have responded to half a dozen recent horse-related rescues.
The latest was Tuesday, according to Teton County Search and Rescue Chief Advisor Cody Lockhart, when first responders got a call just before noon about a 67-year-old man who was tossed from his horse during a guided trip near Cub Creek, about 10 miles from Turpin Meadows.
The reporting party said the man had a punctured lung and broken ribs, so rescuers geared up to hurry to the scene. Because the weather was cooperating, Teton County Search and Rescue asked Grand Teton National Park rangers to go in via helicopter to get the man to safety faster.
Because of the pandemic only park rangers are using the area rescue helicopter. Search and Rescue’s helicopter contract starts in October, when it will go back to helicopter response.
The Texas man was flown to the Blackrock Ranger Station where a ground ambulance picked him up and took him to St. John’s Health.
Over the past two months, rescuers have been getting a lot of callouts for people who were injured after falling off or getting tossed off their horses during guided trips.
On Sept. 1, Search and Rescue volunteers helped two women who fell off their horses at the end of Flat Creek Road. Volunteers responded on side-by-side vehicles, packaged the injured horseback riders and transported them to a waiting ambulance.
On Aug. 30 volunteers were called to the Pacific Creek area to help a woman who’d fallen from her horse. The mission took nearly six hours because the team of 14 volunteers had to hike in and transport the woman out on a wheeled litter.
Just a few days before that, volunteers responded to a man who had fallen from his horse, also in the Pacific Creek area. That ground rescue took more than three hours.
“Horses are unpredictable,” Lockhart said. “We don’t use them a ton as a Search and Rescue resource because we can’t put a patient on there and guarantee they aren’t going to knock that patient off.”