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North Dakota horses rescued after rancher’s blizzard


SOUTH HEART, ND – The 2022 blizzard will be remembered for generations to come on a small North Dakota ranch nestled in the heart of Stark County.

When the blizzard hit, Hollie Wilson knew it was going to be bad. She prepared and then prepared more, thinking that would be enough. But that was not the case.

“People were saying we weren’t prepared. Rest assured, we did it. We never imagined it would have gotten this bad,” said Wilson, owner of Rockin ’33 Performance Horses at South Heart.

His seven horses were covered in ice and shook uncontrollably for three days. Snowdrifts, some as high as 10ft, trapped them inside their barn as April’s historic blizzard battered the northern plains.

The feeling of helplessness and seeing something she had worked for all her life falling through her fingers was too much to face. Fearing hypothermia and colic, Wilson made a trail Thursday morning and dug up his horses.

Less than 24 hours after what seemed like a nightmare, all the snow and ice has now melted on his horses.

“And they look great. They are happy and healthy and eating,” she said.

However, the same could not be said for her barn which she thought was safe for her horses. It now looks like an unrecognizable frozen trough filled with farm equipment and snow, from floor to ceiling. Outside, snowdrifts are toppling steel fences, swallowing old retaining barriers.

Yet it’s the flood of positive comments and encouragement received from around the world since his horses went viral that has uplifted Wilson.

“All of us breeders really need it. We all got discouraged at some point. And there are so many more breeders bigger than us,” she said.

Hollie Wilson’s seven horses were covered in ice and shivered uncontrollably for three days when a blizzard hit North Dakota.
Hollie Wilson on Fox Weather

The storm that hit the Plains this week had not been seen in 25 years, according to Wilson.

Walking around his ranch, it’s hard not to miss the incomprehensible height of the snowdrifts. In the days to come, this will all melt away, but the joy of hearing that Wilson’s prized horses are making a remarkable recovery will last a lifetime.

“They did very, very well,” she said.

Wind gusts recorded up to 60 mph in parts of the state ripped tin parts off the barn’s roof and siding, leaving sunlight staring directly into the pasture.

The storm damage will take months to rebuild for the family who are just trying to develop a small horse ranch with a few head of cattle. They don’t have much pasture because of the drought in the area.

The winter storm would have broken a snowfall record more than 100 years old.

The previous largest three-day snowfall in North Dakota occurred in Lisbon, which picked up 35 inches in 1915, but during the recent storm, the National Weather Service said Minot picked up 36 inches, with counts still in progress.

Record snowfall or not, Wilson wants to build a nicer barn with an indoor arena with stands for when the time comes for another astronomical Midwestern winter storm.

Prized horses are safe after being trapped in a barn during the blizzard Owner of Rockin' 33 Performance Horses
Snowdrifts, some as high as 10 feet, trapped the horses inside their barn.
Hollie Wilson on Fox Weather

“And I’m sure it will come back,” she said.

New York Post

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