A friend called his wife to say that she saw a horse stuck in the feet-deep snow about a quarter of a mile above her running path. She saw it two days before but thought little of it as wild horses are constantly traversing the hillsides.
“It looks like it’s trapped,” she said, “No trail showing it had moved either backward or forward, and the snow is over its rump.”
“Poor horse,” his wife said. “Is there anything we can do?”
“I called around, and no one’s answering their phones, so I’ve left a bunch of messages, but no one’s called back,” she answered.
His wife looked at him. He knew then that he would be the one heading up the rocky hillside to see if he could coax the animal down or learn that it might already be dead.
In no time, with his heaviest snow gear on and throwing rope in hand, he headed up the embankment. It took him about an hour to reach the poor beast.
It was good and stuck in snow that had thawed and refrozen for at least three days. When the horse raised its head and looked at him, he was amazed.
Moving slowly, not wanting to scare it and get a hoof in the head for his effort, he finally got the rope around its neck and then began the task of hacking out a path out of the ice that had formed around much of its body. It was easier said than done, and an hour and a half later, the horse took its first step out of its would-be icy tomb.
Together, and very slowly, they worked their way down the hillside. He stumbled and fell, as did the horse, but it stayed with him and didn’t drag him off as he had half suspected it might.
Once they reached the running trail, they gave the horse hay, some carrots, and bits of sliced apple. It turns out the horse was not wild but had escaped its enclosure a week before, and the animal’s owners were out searching for it.
Through an online message board, they heard about a horse stuck in the snow, reaching the base of the trail as the pair were coming to it. Another day and night, and the horse would have died, as it had already given up when he made his way to it.
Britches is now home and safe.
And while he’s cold, he is satisfied. His wife is making a large pot of turkey soup that will end his internal chill.