A six-year-old mare that had been abandoned in the deep snow in the back country at Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming, at the end of a hunting trip survived 6 weeks alone. According to her owner, BJ Hill, the proprietor and operator of Swift Creek Outfitters and Teton Horseback Adventures, the horse named Valentine had become extremely ill and “had all the signs of dying.” At that point, Valentine was left on her own; Hill was sure a predator would have killed her in an area known for wolves.
Not so at all, because on December 14, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported a trail groomer spotted the dark-coated mare, albeit extremely gaunt and pawing at the drifts to find any hidden grass, standing out in the deep snow. He contacted the Shosone National Forest’s Wind River ranger station in Dubois. By the next morning U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Dirk Chalfant found out who the horse belonged to and what had occurred:
“What I discovered is this horse had probably been in there for six weeks, and at a least three of those weeks it was probably in about five feet of snow and occasionally 30 below zero,” stated Chalfant.
And then came the plans for her rescue after Hill was told his horse had survived. Through ungroomed trails and snow still falling, Chalfant, Hill and Hill’s son loaded up some hay for Valentine and used a snowmobile to finally find her. When Valentine spotted her rescuers, she made it quite clear she had no intentions of being left behind again.
“She didn’t want to spend another night back there alone,” Chalfant said. “If we had to leave her and drive away, I think she would have been heartbroken.”
Thanks to the groomer who first spotted the horse, he was able to carve out a rough path and then the men built a road behind her. Attached by a lead rope, the snow was packed down by the men, as Valentine happily made her way out of Fish Creek Trail. For the next eight hours, the horse, at her own pace traveled nearly 20 miles through the deep snow; she had no “quit” in her. And when the men and Valentine reached the road, a trailer was ready to take her home to Pavillion.
Some true stories are just stranger than fiction. Welcome home Valentine. (Photo of horse survived courtesy of US Forest Service.)
Follow the Pet Rescue Report on Facebook.