Rescuers save horses from frozen pond

January 15, 2014
Rescuers tend to Bella the horse.

Rescuers tend to Bella the horse.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

Firefighters use a sled to bring up heating supplies for the horse.

Firefighters use a sled to bring up heating supplies for the horse.

RIVERTON TWP. — Katlin Hammond knew something was wrong when she looked out the back window of her boyfriend’s house, at 2520 W. Meisenheimer Road, this afternoon and didn’t see her two horses Shelby and Bella. She went out to the barn, a few feet from the house and the horses weren’t there. Hammond’s first instinct was that the horses may have wandered off to a neighbor’s. But, then she saw their tracks leading to a back field.

She followed the tracks and discovered the two horses in about 4-feet of water in an iced-over pond located about a 1/4 mile behind the house.

“It was the first time they have ever been back there,” she said. She called for help from her boyfriend, Blake Cameron, and Blake’s dad, Ernie Cameron.

Katlin Hammond warms up her horse, Shelby.

Katlin Hammond warms up her horse, Shelby.

“I knew we had a problem when I saw those two horses wedged together about 50 feet out,” Ernie Cameron said. They then called 911 and Riverton Fire Department was dispatched.

Ernie said they needed to get the horses out one at a time, without upsetting them. They started with Shelby, who is 15-years-old. “We looped a rope behind him and then had six guys tugging from the front.” Some of the firefighters and bystanders went into the water, about waist deep. “When we got close to sure, he was starting to get weak, so we used a chain saw that spooked him to coming on shore.”

Katlin then walked Shelby back to the barn where she started drying the shivering horse off. About 10 minutes later the rescuers were able to get Bella out of the water, but the 2-year-old horse wouldn’t go any further.

The snow was too deep to bring a vehicle back to the pond. The weekend thaw caused the snow to harden up. Nobody had a snowmobile nearby, so firefighters used a rescue sled to bring out a generator and electric torpedo heater to help Bella warm up. They also lit a fire.

After about 30 minutes the horse was ready to move. A team of rescuers persuaded her to stand up and Katlin led her horse back to the barn.

Firefighters said this was the first time they ever had to rescue a horse from the water.

Dr. Rex Payne of Country Veterinarian Clinic was called out to tend to the horses.


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