This time of the year you can likely see many Iowans and Midwesterners spending some time out on the ice. You can see people ice fishing, ice skating, or playing some good old-fashioned pond hockey. I don't think this horse was planning on enjoying any winter activities when it found itself in a dangerous situation. Thankfully this terrible situation ends with some good news.


This Wisconsin horse has some thank-you's to spread this holiday season after some neighbors helped save its life. According to KCRG, this horse got out of its pen last Saturday night when a tree fell and broke his fence. After wandering out about 150 yards onto Big Wood Lake, the 1,200-pound mustang fell through the ice.

The Big Wood Lake area has seen its fair share of cooler temperatures this December but not cold enough to create ice strong enough to hold a horse. KCRG reports the ice was only about 4 inches thick. According to the Almanac, it's not safe for humans to go ice fishing, ice skating, or being in close quarters with others, when the ice is less than 4 inches thick. 5 inches worth of ice will normally hold around 800 pounds. Clearly, the ice was way too thin for this horse and he ended up in the freezing water.

D.J Ryan was one of the first people to see this horse bobbing up and down in the water. He's not an actual first responder but he immediately started calling friends and neighbors to see what could be done to save him. He told KCRG,

We were able to see him bobbing and struggling. It was just calling a bunch of mutual friends and horse people around the area, and I knew someone was going to know someone who had a warm safe place we could house him if it was successful and it was.

With the ice only being 4 inches thick, a towing company was unable to use their heavier equipment to pull the horse out, so the rescuers involved had to use rope and nylon straps. Imagine trying to pull out a 1,200-pound animal without being able to use a tow truck. Karl Anderson is a tow truck driver and he said the hardest part was figuring out how to rig up the horse in a safe manner. He told KCRG,

The hardest part was rigging the horse so we could safely pull it. We knew we couldn’t pull the horse out by its neck or by its halter

Thankfully they were able to pull the horse to safety and he is now recuperating at the vet. The horse did suffer from hypothermia but he should make a full recovery. Ryan decided it was time to give the horse a new name and he drew inspiration from the movie Titanic. He told KCRG,

We named him Jack out here from “Titanic.” We’ll never let go of Jack. We didn’t. We held on to him the whole way!


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