A Pennsylvania rescue crew saved the lives of two Clydesdale horses who plunged into a freezing lake after escaping from their farm.
Gunther and Wilhelm, two 15-year-old Clydesdale horses, live at Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
On Feb. 16, the horses broke out of their enclosure, wandered onto Pine Grove Lake on the farm’s property, and fell through the ice.
The horses were unable to escape on their own, trapped in about 10 feet of freezing water.
When first responders from Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder Fire Company arrived on the scene, they found the two massive horses neck deep in the frigid lake.
— KMOV (@KMOV) February 18, 2019
“I saw two horse heads sticking up out of the ice,” Fire Chief Leon Clapper told WBRE-TV. “That was the only thing you saw.”
The horses weighed over 1500 pounds each, and were exhausted from trying to escape the frozen waters.
Clapper said they used a boat to cut a path through the ice and placed rescue ropes around the horses, leading them back to shore.
Quiet Valley Farm Manager Milton Mosier said it was hard to watch the beautiful horses struggle, knowing he could do very little to save them.
“Most men are tough, but it was very emotional when I saw them out there and just felt a little helpless,” he said.
After about an hour in the icy waters, the exhausted, shivering Gunther and Wilhelm made it to shore.
By then, community members had arrived to support the animals and rescue teams by bringing supplies.
“Some of the other neighbors were horse people so they went and got heaters, their blankets and stuff like that. It was, you know, one hell of a team effort,” said Clapper.
Witness Arlene Reading told WNEP that the rescue was filled with worry and concern for the Clydesdales.
“There were tears because we were worried,” Reading said. “They are beautiful, beautiful animals. Everybody worked together and got these horses out safely.”
The farm’s executive director, Katherine Muller, told WBRE that a horse vet was on scene and administered an IV to each horse.
Wilhelm needed stitches and had a sore eye, but Muller confirmed that both horses were in good health.
Everyone involved was thankful to see the beautiful horses walk away from what could have been a tragedy.
“But thank heavens they’re in good shape, eating right away, which is typical of the guys,” said the farm’s marketing director Deborah DiPasquale.
“Bless their hearts, they’re good strong horses,” she added. “That was definitely something in their favor.”
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