Friday, October 8, 2010

Photo by Bob Schultz shows normal, not current, canal level.

Last week we got a call from Jared Lloyd of Back Country Outfitters. He saw a horse lodged in a vehicle rut, on her back, in Wild Horse Estates. This was in the area commonly referred to as the “horse pasture.” We believe that she had probably been rolling and slipped into the deep rut. This was one day before several inches of rain and high winds were expected and in an area that routinely floods. Herd Manager Wesley Stallings was able to get a rope around the mare’s right back leg and right front leg and pull her over. From there, she scrambled up and went on her way. Had she not been pulled out, she would have been trapped with torrential rain falling on her for three days. The area received about 12 inches of rain before the storm finally moved on. Drowning where she lay would have been highly likely.

That same rain event caused a very significant rise in the canals in Carova. Many docks were submerged and some still over a week later. Yesterday, a mare slipped or fell into a canal in an area where there were no breaks in the bulkhead for a significant distance. The water was well over the mare’s head. Although horses are good swimmers, and our horses are exceptionally athletic with a strong will to live, there is definitely a limit to how long a horse can survive in the water.

Fortunately for this mare, Carova Beach Fire Chief Bill Vann spotted her and called CWHF. Wesley was an hour and half away working with our horses awaiting adoption. I jumped in a vehicle and started up the beach to the site (about a half an hour drive). CWHF Board President and Sanctuary Patrol Officer, Kimberlee Hoey, who lives in Carova, was able to get to the mare within 15 minutes. With one her house guests holding her cell phone on speaker and Wesley on the other end giving instructions, Kimberlee singlehandedly saved this mare. In order to do so, she had to run out onto a dock and push the mare to swim around it with a lunge whip, then run out onto the next dock and do the same again, forcing the mare to swim north toward the closest break in the bulkhead. She repeated this process three times. The mare came upon a submerged dock and tried in vain to climb on it but could not. Kimberlee then had to scale two fences and push through heavy brush to keep the mare moving forward. She risked cottonmouths and falling into the canal herself. She was fearless and determined that this mare would not drown no matter what.

I have often said that the wild horses either bring out the worst or the best in people. This was far and away the best. “Thank you,” doesn’t even come close.

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