Floodwaters in Houston, Texas, continue to rise as people scramble to higher ground. However, humans are not the only ones in danger of the flooding waters. Over 70 horses were saved in Northeast Harris County. One of the volunteers who helped save the horses was Mongol winner Justin Nelzen who rescued 15 horses from floodwaters in Houston, Texas. Justin didn’t travel by boat to save the horses; he bravely jumped in the water, and swam them to safety.
— #HorseHour (@HorseHour) April 19, 2016
The owners of the Cypress Trails Equestrian Center did not believe that the water would rise so much in their area to be a threat, but they were wrong.
Darolyn Butler, the owner of Cypress Trails Equestrian Center in Humble, said, “They have an evacuation plan and they practice several times a year.” However, even with all their practicing, they waited until it was too late and the barn was already flooding.
She said that she watched the weather news until 2 a.m. and saw the cells were splitting, that the storm was about over. They went to bed and woke up an hour later to discover the stables were filling up with water.
“We woke up around 3 and it was already too high to get the trailers out.”
— #HorseHour (@HorseHour) April 19, 2016
Over 100 deputies, constables, firefighters, and good Samaritans volunteered to help save the horses. Some used boats while others swam in the water as they tried to reach the frantic horses. Reports vary, but it’s estimated that 70 to 100 horses were involved. However, how many horses were actually saved and may still be missing remains unknown.
Videos showed horses treading as they tried to keep their heads above water. Some horses became tangled in fences as they were “seen trying to get over what appeared to be a flood-inundated fence in the area near Cypress Creek.”
Some horses were exhausted and needed help in holding their heads up when they came near the edge of the road. Rescuers jumped in the cold water to assist the horses as they led them to an area where they could finally stand on the ground.
Veterinarian Dr. Dori Hertel checked over the horses, amazed that after all they went through the horse calmly allowed themselves to be checked over. Dr. Dori Hertel said that so far, she had not seen any serious injuries.
Dr. Dori Hertel told ABC 13 Eyewitness News that horses are like people and they tend to panic in certain situations. Sometimes they make bad decisions. However, they tend to follow each other and if the volunteers can get the more “levelheaded” horses going in the right direction, the others tend to follow.
— andy gillfillan (@andygillfillan) April 18, 2016
Although dozens of horses were saved and pulled to dryer ground, there is some bad new as well. KHOU reported that 10 horses have drowned.
Judge Ed Emmett posted an update on his Facebook page, “For those of you that may have seen the news reports of horses trapped in the water at Cypress Trails Equestrian Center, all but a few of the horses have been rescued or have been seen on higher ground. 3 or 4 are still loose but don’t appear to be in grave danger.”
Judge Ed Emmett also reported on his Facebook page, “We’ve heard that most of the 80 horses at Cypress Trails have been rescued. A few still loose but not grave danger. Will update when we hear.”
Weve heard that most of the 80 horses at Cypress Trails have been rescued. A few still loose but not grave danger. Will update when we hear.
— Official Ed Emmett (@EdEmmett) April 18, 2016
In another heartwarming story of a horse being saved from the raging waters is an almost blind horse. Devon Horn bravely rescued a frightened horse named Boomer. It was a struggle for a while as the frightened horse could not see well enough to know where to go or what to do, but somehow, Devon managed to lead Boomer back onto the higher ground. Devon said at one point they tried to get out at one location, but they were swept down the river about 300 feet. Sheriff’s deputies assisted Devon and Boomer to dryer ground.
— AMHQ (@AMHQ) April 19, 2016
Videos capturing the dramatic horse rescue flooded Facebook, and many of the comments were unkind to the owners of the stables. Many posts claimed that some of the horses were tied so they could not escape, and those were the ones that drowned. One wrote, “I have lived by this stables for 20 years. They move the horses EVERY TIME there is a flood.” While another wrote, “They didn’t move them because we were only expecting 8 inches of rain which wouldn’t flood the property but we got 16 inches last night that they didn’t expect.”
However, it’s not only the horses who need rescuing. The video below shows the wildlife that’s been displaced out of their homes because of the flood waters.
There is one story that stands out, and this is about a horse that was presumed dead. Mac Stanford posted, “There were many prayers being said aloud, and there was no doubt that God was present today in all of His glory. There are going to be some EXHAUSTED Guardian Angels in Heaven’s beds tonight!
“The white horse below was one that was thought to have died, tangled beneath the water’s surface on some fencing near the bridge. Suddenly, at 2:02 p.m., without warning, this glorious beast burst through the surface of the water beneath the bridge and pulled himself up the concrete embankment with no help from any human. The crowd above was absolutely stunned into silence…then ERUPTED with cheering and applause. The horse was so exhausted that he could barely walk. He wandered towards the crowd, and gave a loud neigh when the woman that owns him and was boarding him there, broke through the crowd and grabbed his bridle. I got the whole thing on video!”
Read Mac Stanford’s entire account of the event here.
[Photo by David J. Phillip/AP Images]