Miraculous Rescue as Wisconsin Friends Team up to Pull 1,200 lb. Mustang out of Frozen Lake

Mustang recsued from frozen lake in Wisconsin. (Credit: WCCO - CBS Minnesota)

Merry Christmas, RedStaters! Here’s a nice holiday story for ya that doesn’t involve Biden, Putin, Pelosi, or Schumer. Instead, it centers around two great American creatures: men and horses, and it involves good friends, teamwork, persistence, and bravery.


Here we go: a 1,200-pound horse escaped from its Wisconsin barn, found its way onto a frozen lake—and promptly fell through the ice. Known as “Big Wood Lake,” the site is known for its bass fishing, and I’m just going to have to flat-out steal borrow this line from CBS News: “but there’s never been a catch like this.”

After someone called 911, word spread around the small town of Grantsburg, and it wasn’t long before more than a dozen residents showed up to help. It was just after 8:30 a.m., the temperature was a bone-chilling minus-5, and the ice was only four inches thick.

The frozen water had thinned after a week of warmer temperatures and was not strong enough to hold ATVs or tow trucks, so the rescuers had to risk going out there themselves.

“The horse was actually in 15 to 17 feet of water,” Karl Anderson, a tow-truck driver, told WCCO. “I pulled his head so it was resting on the ice. It was shivering pretty bad, it was laboring breathing, nostrils full of ice. It was having trouble.”

It took them almost four hours to rig the miserable mustang with rope, nylon straps, and innertubes to pull him out onto the ice; then they loaded him into a trailer and took him to a heated barn.

Minnesota news station WCCO interviewed some of the heroes:


“It was nerve-wracking,” said local resident D.J. Ryan. “We were able to see him bobbing and struggling. It was just calling a bunch of mutual friends and horse people around the area and I knew someone was going to know someone who had a warm safe place we could house if it was successful.”


And successful it was. The shivering steed was then seen by local equine expert Rachael Triddelwitz and is recovering nicely after a visit to the vet:

“Mustangs are live-off-the-land kind of horses. They can adapt and are heartier,” she said. “He’s meant to be self-sufficient, and he definitely was. He kind of saved himself. He did what he needed to do.”

Not only did the horse survive—he got a new nickname, “Jack,” which D.J. Ryan says was inspired by the movie Titanic.

“We’ll never let go of Jack and we didn’t!” he grinned. “We held on to him the whole way.”

Sometimes the news seems so full of bad stuff—crime, inflation, war, culture wars, corrupt politicians—that it can seem like the world is a bad place and that people suck. Stories like this remind us that our nation is actually filled with good, and brave, people.

I hope Jack has a wonderful holiday and that somebody gives him an apple.


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