A young Quarter horse colt is back in his stall, comfortable and warmed up, after a harrowing rescue that had him fighting for his life. The 18-month-old horse named Kid is fortunate to have had help from Metro West Fire Protection who were practicing water rescues that very morning. The Saturday night Kid was swimming for his life after he fell through thin ice on the pond.
Kid’s owner, Dr. Sarah Rhoades, noticed the missing horse when she went to feed her animals and began searching for him. She heard him neighing and found him struggling in the pond with only his head above the icy water, thrashing to stay afloat. He had apparently escaped through fencing in his field and wandered onto the ice on the pond.
Rhoades frequently handles tense situations in her work, but this was her own horse and it panicked her. She immediately called MERS Large Animal Rescue and Metro West Fire Protection. Emergency rescuers were quick to respond and showed up at the scene in barely five minutes. By that time, authorities estimated that Kid had been in the pond for at least 30 minutes and every minute counted for his survival.
MERS and 15 firefighters teamed up equipment and their muscles, using straps and ropes and a strong tarp to rescue Kid from what could have been certain death. The horse was probably 40 feet away from shore, in the middle of thin ice. Hypothermia was setting in and Kid was shivering from shock and distress.
Danielle Brantley of MERS remarked that without the efficient response from the fire department and breaking through the ice to reach Kid to pull him out, the horse could not have survived. Matt Copping of Metro West added that Kid managed to get within feet of the shore only to collapse from exhaustion. The emergency crews realized then “how truly tired the horse was.” Kid was unable to walk any further so everyone pitched in to carry him to the medical team.
According to Brantley, Kid was so cold that his core temperature was below 90 and did not register on the rectal thermometer. His body condition was endangering his organs and his life. He was given warm fluids, swaddled in a cozy heat blanket and made as comfortable as possible. Brantley said,
You can get the horse out, but if the core temperature is not heated up correctly, he’s not going to make it.
After warming Kid for over two hours, he was coming around and he kicked into survival mode. He “was where he needed to be to survive.”
The rescue and young horse made an indelible impression on the firefighters who returned the following day to check on how Kid was doing. They were pleased that Kid was recovering so well.