A Pennsylvania rescue team saved the lives of two Clydesdale horses who fell into a freezing lake after escaping from their farm.
Gunther and Wilhelm, two 15-year-old Clydesdale horses, reside at Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
On Feb. 16, the horses escaped from their enclosure, wandered onto Pine Grove Lake on the farm’s property, and plunged into the ice.
The horses were unable to get out of the lake on their own, trapped in about 10 feet of freezing water.
When first responders from Blue Ridge Hook and Ladder Fire Company got to the scene, they discovered the two massive horses neck deep in the frigid lake.
The horses weighed over 1500 pounds each, and were tired from trying to escape the frozen waters.
Clapper said they used a boat to carve a path through the ice and placed rescue ropes around the horses, leading them back up to shore.
Quiet Valley Farm Manager Milton Mosier said it was difficult to watch the beautiful horses struggle, knowing he could do almost nothing 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 finally made it to shore.
By then, community members had gotten to the lake 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,” stated Clapper.
Witness Arlene Reading told sources that the rescue was filled with worry and fear 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 news that a horse vet was nearby and administered an IV to each horse.
Wilhelm needed stitches and had a sore eye, but Muller said that both horses were in good health.
Everyone involved was grateful 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.”