Lucky the horse lived up to his name over the weekend when the brown and white pinto fell into an ice-covered swimming pool and was rescued, apparently unhurt, by Eagle firefighters and Ada County sheriff’s deputies.
“That’s really his name,” said Eagle Fire Battalion Chief Rob Shoplock. “And he certainly is lucky.”
Shoplock said his initial response to the horse-in-pool call Saturday evening was incredulity: “We’ve been on horse rescues before ... but nothing like a horse into a pool. This is really a first.”
The pool was along Holl Drive near East Beacon Light Road. Lucky and several other horses reportedly got out of their enclosure about a quarter-mile away and went exploring, ending up in the 3800 block of Holl. Lucky was the only one that landed in the pool, which Shoplock estimates was covered by foot-thick ice, thick enough for rescuers to stand on.
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An Ada County Sheriff’s spokesman said the call came in from the homeowner at 4:50 p.m., and the horse, who was in icy water up to his haunches, was reported out of the pool just before 6 p.m. Once rescuers got him out, people walked him and used blankets and straw to warm him up. A vet responded to check him out.
It is unclear how long Lucky was in the pool before the emergency call came in, Shoplock said. But the Ada County Sheriff’s Office estimates the 5-year-old gelding was in the pool for up to an hour.
“The neighbors were really a huge help,” he said. “They did a good job of petting him and keeping him calm. ... They kept the other horses that Lucky was friends with there, which also helped.”
“When we starting moving him, he was not having it — he actually fell down under the water,” Shoplock said, but neighbors and horse-savvy Ada deputies helped move the rescue forward safely.
Firefighters’ axes and a neighbor’s ice-fishing auger proved ineffective at breaking up the ice. So firefighters used a chainsaw to cut the ice into chunks that could be lifted out of the way, creating a pathway for Lucky into the shallow end and then out of the pool.
And that’s another way Lucky lived up to his name: He fell into a pool that grew shallow enough at one end to allow rescuers to walk the horse out of the water rather than hoisting him, Shoplock said.
“If it had been the type where the only way out is a ladder, it would have been a lot harder on the horse.”