For a painful moment Lacie Smith weighed the risks and pondered abandoning the rescue attempt.
Monday morning, floodwaters were rising around the Edmond animal welfare officer and three thoroughbreds confined to a pasture east of I-35.
Smith had to consider her own personal safety. She and fellow animal welfare Officer Mike Sullivan also were trying to figure out how to get the horses out of danger.
At about the time Edmond firefighters arrived on the scene something spooked one of horses, which was standing on higher ground in water. It jumped into deeper water and its head bobbed up and down as it was swept away by the current.
“You could tell she was fighting, but that current was strong out there,” Smith recalled Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a firefighter put on a lifejacket, made it to one of the two remaining horses and used a makeshift harness to lead it to higher ground. As the rescuers had hoped, the other horse followed.
Then firefighters used the Jaws of Life to cut an opening through the metal fence standing between the two remaining horses and higher ground. They were taken to Equine Medical Associates, 2625 W. I-35.
Dr. Mike Johnston said when they arrived, the two horses were in fairly good condition, and they were given hay and water while they recovered from the stress. The horses received free care, including antibiotics sent home with them.
Fears that the horse that had drifted away had drowned were erased when it was found, more than a mile away from the original pasture, said Clay Masters, who has been boarding the horses in far east Edmond north of Second Street along North Midwest Boulevard.
Masters said he was grateful to the animal welfare officers, the firefighters and Equine Medical Associates.
“I can’t thank our people in uniform in our city enough,” Masters said. “They have rescued me, our horses.”
Smith said it felt good to be able to help in the rescue.
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