“If it weren’t for the compassionate efforts of these good samaritans, the horse’s life might have hung in the balance,” emphasized DJ Ryan, one of the heroic individuals who participated in the daring rescue mission that unfolded on a frozen lake. The incident unfolded on a chilly Saturday, December 26th, 2022, when a tree toppled onto a fence, creating a gap that allowed the horse to escape from its stable.
Frontier Stables, deeply involved in the rescue operation, later facilitated the heartwarming reunion between the horse and its relieved family, as reported by ABC News.
DJ Ryan, recounting the sequence of events, recalled coming across a post on Facebook Saturday night, shared by a concerned neighbor, alerting the community to a horse found wandering aimlessly. Without hesitation, he and another neighbor braved the cold evening to investigate the situation.
“We did find its tracks, and I thought it was on its way home,” Ryan shared with ABC News. However, the following morning, residents were alarmed to spot the horse walking precariously on the frozen lake. Surveillance cameras captured the harrowing moment the horse plunged into the icy water at approximately 8:30 in the morning, as detailed by Mike Strub, President of the Big Wood Lake Association.
Witnessing the horse’s distress, Ryan and a group of compassionate neighbors swiftly rushed to the scene. “We saw it out there struggling and bobbing about, roughly 150 yards from the shore,” Ryan recounted in a local news interview.
Determined to save the horse, they bestowed upon him the name “Jack,” inspired by the iconic character from the movie Titanic. Ryan, who not only aided in the rescue but also possessed equine knowledge due to his ownership of horses and a veterinarian mother, noted that Jack was a Mustang known for their exceptional tolerance to cold weather conditions. Nonetheless, the specter of hypothermia loomed, threatening Jack’s life.
Despite the biting cold and the lack of resources, Ryan and his neighbors tirelessly brainstormed ways to extract Jack from the frigid water without causing harm. Strub mentioned, “On the scene, there was a veterinarian. As long as the horse was still moving and kicking, it was salvageable. That’s why they never gave up.”
After numerous attempts, marked by trial and error, the group of good samaritans successfully positioned a nylon strap under the horse’s body, facilitating a gradual maneuver to guide Jack toward the ice’s edge. Ryan recounted that they began to feel the tension in the strap as they drew him closer to safety. Ultimately, Jack’s tenacity prevailed, as he kicked and propelled himself out of the freezing water.
With considerable effort, the rescuers then guided the horse away from the perilous lake. Shortly after the rescue, Jack was not only back on his feet but also walking normally. Ryan marveled, saying, “He had a look like what the heck was going on? We were amazed that he was able to get up and walk as fast as he did.”
Jack was later transported to a horse trailer and relocated to a climate-controlled stable. Strub proudly remarked, “We had all people with binoculars watching it from the lake and cheering. It was a point of pride.” He added that despite the sub-zero temperatures and limited resources, the neighbors remained unwavering in their commitment to Jack’s safety.
During his stay at Frontier Stables, Jack received continuous monitoring, and it was reported that he was in good health. A few days after the rescue mission, Jack was joyfully reunited with his owners, thanks to the diligent efforts of the community. ABC News documented this heartwarming tale of compassion and resilience, showcasing the power of teamwork and empathy in the face of adversity.