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Clydesdales survive plunge into frozen lake

Posted at 2:55 PM, Feb 18, 2019

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Gunther and Wilhelm, the two Clydesdales rescued from a frozen lake, are back on solid ground at the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm near Stroudsburg.

The day before, the pair found themselves up to their necks in trouble in a nearby lake.

Their owner says a stressful situation like that can cause life-threatening colic or organ failure in a horse. Veterinarians say thankfully those are no longer concerns for Gunther and Wilhelm, according to WNEP.

Neighbors found the horses in the middle of the frozen lake Saturday morning and called 911. Rescue crews arrived within minutes and used chainsaws and ice picks to break a path through the ice.

"We were really nervous because we didn't know how long they were there. We didn't know if they were standing or if they were treading water. It turned out they were resting on a little hillock so they didn't have to tread water the whole time they were there," said Katherine Muller of Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm.

The horses were helped out of the water and back onto the shore. Volunteers rushed in to dry them off and get them warm.

"Just like people, if we fall into the water we can get hypothermia, so can horses, so we were really nervous about that," Muller added.

Since then, veterinarians have been keeping a close eye on the horses.

"I was worried if they were gonna have any issues getting up in the first place, but luckily they both did that pretty quickly, which was incredible, and then we always worry about muscle damage and soreness from the exertion of trying to keep themselves afloat," explained Kelly Corcoran, Cross River Veterinary Service.

The people at Quiet Valley tell WNEP Gunther and Wilhelm are now being treated for superficial bumps and bruises. They will also need new shoes because they threw their shoes as they were exiting the water.

"They're doing really well, so it's a good end to a very frightening start of the weekend," said Muller.

Muller is the executive director at Quiet Valley. She thinks something spooked the horses to take off onto the ice.

She's now looking for ways to make sure they stay out of harm's way.

"We repaired all the fencing yesterday, so we're gonna reinforce it over the next week or so and keep a closer eye on these two troublesome ones," Muller said.

The people at Quiet Valley are collecting donations to help with the medical bills for Gunther and Wilhelm. The vet will be checking in on them several times over the next few weeks.