Firefighters in Marion, Montana were in for a freezing night when calls came in about a horse in distress. The horse, named Henry, had broken through ice and was trapped in a canal. A team of more than 20 volunteers and members of the Marion Fire District and the Flathead County Animal Control worked all night to save the horse's life.
It's unclear how long Henry was trapped in the canal before rescuers got to the scene. But with a closer look, it was clear the horse needed immediate help. He was exhausted from trying to pull himself out of the freezing canal and was starting to show symptoms of hypothermia.
Time was running out, and animal rescuers needed a plan.
First, firefighters and volunteers attempted to help Henry lift himself out of the muddy ditch. But when that didn't work, they needed to reassess the situation. Marion Fire District Fire Chief Katie Mast told MTN News,
"We had to break a lot of ice and some dirt to get to him and then his front legs kept kind of going under the ice, we finally got the front part of his body out and then his rear legs would go underneath the ice buildup, so we kind of had to build a bridge across and lift him straight up."
It took seven hours and a lot of teamwork to save the horse's life. During that time, Henry and his rescuers stood in the freezing water surrounded by ice and dirt. When rescuers finally got him on solid ground, Henry was extremely weak. He suffered from severe fatigue, dehydration, and hypothermia.
Even though Henry was out of the canal, no one was sure he would survive. He spent the night resting at a nearby fire hall where he received fluids. He was then transferred to a veterinary clinic in Kalispell.
Thanks to the determined firefighters and volunteers, Henry is expected to make a full recovery. The team worked together to save the horse, and he's expected to go home to his owner on Thursday.
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All images via Marion Fire District and Department/Facebook