Dunedin, New Zealand was experiencing severe flooding in 2017. On July 22, event riders Stephanie Jasperse, 17, and Anya Johnston, 18 risked their own safety to rescue a group of eight horses stranded in a water-logged field. The flooding was up to their stomachs and the horses were struggling to reach higher ground. Stephanie’s mother, Kyla Jasperse, caught the girls’ brave actions on video.
“The flooding was much more severe than was forecast,” Jasperse told Horse & Hound. “There were eight horses and only three of them were halter trained.”
The group of youngstock, hunter and dressage horses all belong to the same owner, and thanks to the girls, they all escaped injury. Stephanie and Anya each took hold of a single horse and led them through the chilly floodwaters with the rest of the herd following behind. In total, the teens guided the horses nearly 550 yards to safety.
“I am very proud of the girls as they stayed very calm and planned each move before doing anything — including removing fences and ensuring that gates were secured open — all in water that at times was mid-chest and in places moving,” Jasperse said.
Stephanie and Anya’s horses were stabled elsewhere and were not affected by the floods.
This particular area of New Zealand has been experiencing ongoing flooding for the past few months, putting many horses and livestock at risk. One Facebook user commented on Jasperse’s video:
“I just dealt with this in the beginning of June. Had to rescue 13 horses and a pig. So many horses didn’t do too well. My heart is broken.”
The girls have been hailed as local heroes for their actions to help the eight stranded horses.
H/T to Horse & Hound
Featured Image Screenshot via Facebook/Kyla Jasperse