Thanks to quick-thinking neighbors and the Newton County Fire Service, Ombre the horse was saved from near certain death Sunday after an apparent prank gone awry left him trapped in a creek.
John Zwemer and his wife, Esther, were taking their English mastiff for his “daily constitutional” on their River Cove Rd. property when they heard an unfamiliar whinny coming from the woods.
The Zwemers, who have a horse farm, immediately recognized one of their neighbor’s horses in their pasture, and followed the sounds of distress to the second animal that was stuck up to his neck in the mud of the creek.
The horses, Blade and Ombre, had been missing since the morning. A neighbor reported seeing them inside a gated private pool area earlier before they disappeared.
“The thing with horses is that if they get stressed they can easily just give up and die, and this fella was not doing himself any favors,” said John Zwemer.
He and his wife called 911, and with the help of the C Shift firefighters and concerned neighbors who lent a tractor and manpower, the rescuers were able to pull Ombre to safety. Ombre's "inseparable" companion, Blade, stood nearby the entire time.
“We had sort of a mud party,” said Zwemer. “A lot of people who helped out don’t have horses and don’t know horses.”
"We have a wonderful neighborhood," said the horses' owner, Dea Thomasson. "They really rallied."
Ombre was taken to CountrySide veterinary hospital for overnight treatment and observation, with Blade by his side for company.
Currently, Ombre is doing "very well," but Thomasson continues to monitor the fluid that built up in his lungs during his ordeal.
"I thought we were going to lose him," she said.
Thomasson and her neighbors believe the animals were taken as a prank. While she is not hopeful the perpetrators will be caught, she had a message for the community.
"This kind of thing may have started out being funny and they never intended harm but it could have ended very differently," she said.
Thomasson said she was grateful to the Newton County Fire Service and all her neighbors, particularly Hope and Garrett Ferguson and the Zwemers.
See more photos of this amazing rescue on the Newton County Fire Service Facebook page.