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Dramatic horse rescue

A wild horse is lucky to be alive, after falling into raging waters at Trout Creek in Summerland on the weekend.

Theresa Nolet, a West Bench resident, who captured the rescue of the horse, named River, on video and uploaded it to YouTube, said the dramatic rescue took place Saturday morning.

"It was a real struggle," she said. "If she had been another 15 minutes in the water, the hypothermia and shock could have been too much for her."

Nolet said a lady was walking along the shoreline at around 8 a.m., Saturday when she saw the little filly's head sticking up.

The horse was stuck on the rocks, lying down in the water with her head going up and down.

The woman called a member of O.A.T.S. Horse Rescue, who then called Nolet.

She gathered up a few medical supplies and drove to the scene in her truck, which has a trailer attached.

"I jumped in the truck, got the trailer there and started videotaping," she said.

When Nolet first arrived on the scene, fire crews and volunteers were trying to get the feral horse, a filly about six months old, out of the rushing water.

Nolet said they were supporting the horse's head and trying to get her on her feet, but she was flailing around and the rope came off her neck and head.

Once loose, the horse started floating down the river again, but was able to regain her footing.

"It was close enough to the bank, and the firemen were able to reach out and put the rope around her neck," she said. "They also secured more ropes on her, so she wouldn't float away again."

Rescuers attempted to clear a path, but the horse was very weak and collapsed. At this point, Nolet said, someone got a sheet of plywood  and dragged her up using that. 

The cold, wet animal could not stand up on her own, but finally those on scene succeeded in getting her up. The rescue effort was not over, because the helpers still needed to get her into the horse trailer.

"It was all very hard to watch, very emotional," said Nolet.

The horse was subsequently taken to a foster home in Summerland, and as of Monday was in good shape.

"She doesn't seem to have suffered any ill effects," said Nolet.

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