By MARY-ANN BARR
Cody Scott, 20, was plowing snow at home on Monday at about noon when an anxious neighbour came over to ask him if he had seen her missing Clydesdale horse.
Scott hadn’t, but he jumped on his snowmobile to have a look around. He came across a man on foot also looking for the horse. They soon found her, back behind Scott’s home, trapped down in a creek, up to her neck in icy cold water.
Then began a concerted effort in about -30C windchilled temperatures to save the big horse’s life. It was the kind of effort that rural folks know. Come together. Pull together. Never quit. The rescue took place about 20 km northeast of Rimbey.
About 13 people — including Scott, the horse owners and Rimbey firefighters, — used straps, a snowmobile, even bare hands in the cold water, but mostly brute strength for about three hours to save the horse.
They tried pulling with ropes, and winching it with the snowmobile. They didn’t have enough power. Scott estimates the horse weighed about 680 to 900 kg.
“Our only worry was what do we do when we get this horse out. Is she going to fall through again? And is she going to create a big enough crack where we all fall in?”
“We were pulling on her and pulling on her. This went on for a good time period.” He noticed that one of her feet came out of the muskeg. So he put his hands deep into the icy water and tied a rope around that leg. They pulled her leg onto the ice. This enabled her to get the other front foot onto the ice on her own.
“Now we had a better chance because she was able to help us,” Scott said. At this time the Rimbey firefighters arrived, and so, with enough manpower, they pulled her out.
She laid down for about 10 minutes to rest but they needed her to get to her feet so she could walk out of the cold. “She stood up.”
Scott captured the rescue on video because after they found the horse he ran home to call for help, grabbed his GoPro camera and strapped it to his chest. He’s received international media attention for the video.
He said wanted to be able to use it to show people “You gotta look out for animals as well.” He said he would not have posted the video to Facebook if the horse hadn’t survived.
“I’m really grateful we were able to get it out safe and sound.”
He’s been around horses for much of his life, and has worked at the Calgary Stampede and Ponoka Stampede for a chuckwagon driver, looking after the horses.
John Weisgerber, Rimbey fire chief, said the horse was checked out by a veterinarian and taken home to a heated barn, and last he heard it was “pretty good.”
He said if the horse hadn’t got up and moving it would have perished because they were in the middle of nowhere and they wouldn’t have been able to haul it out.
“It was good to see because it wasn’t too anxious to get up. … It’s a better story than Donald Trump today.”