Group Effort to Rescue Horses Trapped in Snow Ongoing

Residents of British Columbia, Canada, have banded together to free two horses trapped by snow in the mountains near the community of McBride.

Snowmobilers discovered the horses last week near Mount Renshaw. The animals are extremely thin. According to Kent Kokoska, special provincial constable for the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the horses both rank 2 on the Henneke body condition scale.  

Kokoska said a veterinarian went up to attend to the animals and snowmobilers are delivering feed. They have also been blanketed for protection from the -30° Celsius (-22° F) temperatures that have gripped the area for the past week.

Since Sunday, a group of volunteers has been hand-digging a path through more than half a mile of six-foot-deep snow, in order to lead the horses to a packed trail. From that trail, it is 18 miles to a road.

Volunteers have been hand-digging a path through more than half a mile of six-foot-deep snow.
As of today, about 650 feet were left to dig through, said Glen Daykin, co-owner of Spindrift Powersports in McBride. Spindrift has been supplying the snowmobilers with discounted items to aid them in the rescue.

"About 90% of the people digging up there are snowmobilers," said Daykin. "Even snowmobilers just going up to ride for the day will stop and dig for an hour before going on."

Daykin said the rescuers might be able to get the horses to the packed trail by tonight, and there is a possibility a trail groomer might be able to haul a horse trailer up the packed path, so the animals would not have to walk down.

Earlier this week, a Canadian television station reported that residents said a man from Edmonton, Alberta, had left the horses there in the fall. Kokoska would not comment. "It's an ongoing investigation," he said.

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Liz Brown

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