Many rescuers — both professionals and bystanders — waded into the historic flooding in Houston, Texas, Monday to help rescue dozens of the more than 70 horses trapped in the rising water.
People driving by the road near the flooding, which was reportedly reaching the tops of roofs in some places, yelled encouragement to the struggling horses trying got keep their heads above water, according to KHOU-TV. But it wasn't long before locals started getting out of their cars to help the animals.
Many residents spent hours wading in the water near Harris County to help the stranded horses.
"For those of you that may have seen the news reports of horses trapped in the water at Cypress Trails Equestrian Center," Harris County Judge Ed Emmett wrote in a statement, "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."
When news first broke of the horses that were trapped and tangled up in the fences at the Cypress Trails Equestrian Center, the Internet responded with some outrage.
“If I were out there I would insist they save the horses first," one commenter wrote on a 30-minute Facebook video of the ordeal posted by Spring Happenings.
"I have lived by this stables for 20 years. They move the horses EVERY TIME there is a flood," 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."
Another eye-witness, Mac Sanford, shared the harrowing story of one horse that saved himself "with no help from any human" after bystanders thought he had already died from being trapped beneath the water's surface because of fencing.
"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," Sanford wrote, adding that the crowd was "stunned" into silence before "erupting" into applause.
"The horse was so exhausted that he could barely walk," he continued. "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."
Rescuers immediate focus was on rescuing people in harm's way, KTRK-TV reported, but animal rescuers from the Houston SPCA were called to the scene to help assist the trapped horses.
The Office of Emergency Management ultimately determined that none of the animals died.
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