A couple in Montana embarked on a rescue mission when they saw a horse drowning in the Bitterroot River on Father’s Day.
Hamilton residents Matthew and Christina Eickholt were floating on the river Sunday alongside Matthew’s parents in an area called Bell Crossing when they saw something splashing near the shore, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
Moments later, the couple realized it was a horse fighting against the current and trying to get out of the water near a bank in a spot where the water was nearly 10 feet deep.
“He was breathing super heavy,” Matthew recalled. “Its eyes were all bugged out. At times, all we could see was its teeth above water. It was snorting. I think it may have been 30 seconds to a minute from going under.”
The Eickholts quickly moved to a shallower area in the river downstream from the horse in hopes of helping him out of his predicament.
“We started clapping and yelling,” Matthew said. “We were able to coax him to come downstream. When he saw us, I think he knew we were there to help him. Once he got to us, he was able to pull himself out of there.”
In a Facebook post, Christina noted how the horse appeared to trust them:
Seriously never want to experience what we did on the bitterroot river today, ever again.As we put in, got everyone…
“We saved that horse, no one else was around & if we called for help, it would’ve been too late,” she wrote.
“He was a super nice horse,” Matthew stated, adding, “We were all so happy that it turned out the way it did.”
A few days later, the couple was floating on the river again when they saw the horse and stopped to greet it.
“The horse remembered us and came running up to us with his two friends,” Christina explained.
According to the AP report, the couple still does not know who owns the horse.