Horse back on her feet after icy plunge

Sunday, January 11, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:12 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Wayne Westcott has no idea why or how his horse Ruby got stuck in a freezing pond on his farm north of Columbia. He says Ruby never seemed to like hanging around the pond before.

“I guess she did last night,” Jim Norden, who works for Westcott, said Friday. He found her late Thursday afternoon.

Ruby, a 15-year-old Belgian draft horse who has arthritis in her back legs, could not move well when Boone County firefighters pulled her from the water. They hauled the 1,800- to 2,000-pound horse to the barn on a gate covered with a blanket. She was then covered with blankets and placed next to a heater.

Westcott says Ruby was back on her feet by 11 p.m. He says he has no idea how long she was in the water.

On Friday night, Ruby, a bay horse with a white stripe down her nose, looked as though nothing had happened to her despite the ordeal in the pond and 15 minutes of fame that followed as news crews came to call.

She is eating well and will probably be back at work this week.

Westcott says Ruby is docile and a good horse in general. Her main duties on the farm are hauling the plow, logs and manure spreader, but she also hauls Westcott’s grandchildren up and down the road in front of his farm on their sleds when it snows. If the weather permits, she should be able to do that again.

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