In 2006, nearly 100 horses were stranded on a small island in the Netherlands. A huge storm surge pushed seawater into the earth outside the dikes of Marrum, a town 90 miles from Amsterdam. Nineteen horses drowned or died of exposure on the muddy knoll that was turned into an island.
International press began to pick up the story of the Great Netherlands Horse Rescue, yet authorities’ efforts to rescue the horses continued to fail. In order to save the horses, rescuers would have to lure the stranded herd through receding floodwaters to safe ground, all while riding horseback. No one thought it could be done in a safe, controlled manner.
Then, on November 3, 2006, a miracle took place.
On the third day, the waters were expected to rise with the next storm. This would ultimately destroy the horses. In the meantime, the horses were growing weaker by the minute and were on the brink of giving up. But just in time, a posting appeared on the Friesian horse forum: “Horses and riders sought… Only experienced riders with horses without fear of water” could attempt such a harrowing rescue. The all-female riders — Susan, Micky, Antje, Hinke, Christina, and Fardow — heeded the call. They met the next day to bring the horses to safety.
In the following video, you’ll see what these heroic women accomplished by risking their lives for the lives of their horses…
In 2006, the Great Netherlands Horse Rescue rocked the country and the rest of the world. A fierce storm hit a town outside Amsterdam, leaving a group of 100 horses stranded on a small piece of muddy land.
For three days, the horses were trapped on a small patch of ground that was turned into an island during the evening storm. As cold wind and rain pelted their bodies, the horses could do nothing but huddle together, hoping for a miracle.
International press revealed several unsuccessful attempts at rescuing the horses. Then, a posting appeared on a horse forum, seeking experienced riders with horses without fear of water. They would meet the next day in a last-ditch effort to save them.
Forty-year-old Norma Miedema is considered the unsung hero of the rescue. She was the first person to contact the authorities, refusing to relent until the horses were saved.
Several women on horseback guided the animals back to safety 650 yards away, and the entire herd — except one horse — followed without hesitation. Norma, who ended up suffering from pneumonia, remained on-site the day of the rescue to help transport the horses.
The six women (ages 19 to 40) who rode that day were honored by their government for their bravery and courage. They risked their lives, riding into freezing flood waters and hazardous territory.
The last remaining horse was led back later that day, escorted by riders. It collapsed after reaching shore, and was attended to by veterinarians.
The horses and their heroes were later commemorated for the bravery in Marrum, Netherlands — complete with horse hoof decorations and a symbol of the Friesland flag.
God bless the heroes who made this rescue possible by refusing to give up. Please SHARE this story with those in need of a little inspiration today!
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