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WARREN COUNTY, MO (KTVI)– Warrenton Firefighters rescued two horses that fell through the ice of a lake Thursday.  It happened just two days after the crews practiced for ice rescues in their new protective suits.

There seems no doubt that Meadow is glad to be back on dry land and so is Meadow’s partner Zihna. Both horses escaped a life threatening situation after falling through thin ice in Warren County.  Their owner Tina Churchill had trouble watching the ordeal.  Churchill said, “It was gut wrenching. I was horrified. It was a piece of my heart when you raise these babies. We bred the mares. I saw them born.”

Her husband called Warrenton firefighters for help. Instead of a 200 pound human, they would use their skills to bring two half ton horses to safety, it was dangerous.  Fire Chief Michael Owenby said, “They were struggling. They were having a difficult time. We knew we needed to get them out as quick as possible.”

Firefighters used a chainsaw to cut a path so the horses could get out. Finally, after an hour they were freed from their icy prison.  Chief Owenby said, “It feels really good to go out and this and get them out of there and know they’re going to be okay.”  Churchill  saluted firefighters, “They’re my heroes. They came to the rescue and were here in a heartbeat and jumped right in a situation they weren’t necessarily required to do and saved the day and saved these horses.”

The horses are very special, they are used in therapy for young people who battle mental health problems. Both Meadow and Zihna suffered some cuts to their legs but other than that they are okay.

They’ve probably learned their lesson about walking on thin ice. There is a lesson for humans too. Matt Dabbs is a Warrenton Firefighter. He said, “If your animal falls through do not try to rescue it yourself you’ll be risking your own life.”

To see dramatic pictures and video of the rescue click here: