It was a fine day to explore the countryside and a woman named Nicole Graham and her daughter, Paris, planned on doing just that. They had travelled the territories hundreds of times and knew the path very well. But, little did they know that danger was in their way when they found themselves sinking into the quicksand-like coastal mud.
The mother, Nicole Graham, showed heights of bravery, valour and love in this situation. She rescued her daughter and her horse with great difficulty. But her own horse was far from safety and it required an out of the world effort from Nicole to keep him alive. It was a race against time. With minimal support that came her way, she managed to save her beloved horse.
Nicole Graham, a woman living in Melbourne, Australia, went on a horse ride with her daughter on the 26th of February, 2012. She had been doing it so many times from the past 20 years and was pretty familiar with the terrain. Nicole was riding her 18-year old horse, Astro, and her daughter, Paris, was riding a much smaller one. They decided to go on a horse ride on the Avalon Beach in Geelong, Victoria. When they were a few minutes into the ride, Astro suddenly entered quick-sand type of coastal sand, which started sucking him in. The other horse followed Astro and found itself partially in the pit as well.
Both the mother and daughter were in shock as it happened so suddenly. They found themselves stuck in thick mud along with their horses. All of this happened in a blink of an eye and they were in an emergency situation.
Nicole was quick to react. She somehow managed to free herself from the mud and moved away from it. She then pulled her daughter and her horse out of the mud, as both of them weighed less. Though it wasn’t an easy task, she was successful. She then went back to the rescue of her horse, who was struggling and kicking to get out of the punishing mud. Astro was a full-grown male horse, who weighed more than 500 kilos. It wasn’t as easy as pulling out her daughter and the much smaller horse for Nicole. She tried her best to free the horse from the pit, but, the more the horse struggled to free itself, it seemed to sink deeper into the pit. Nicole was in a fix and had to act fast.
Soon after Nicole freed her daughter, Paris, and her horse, she went back into the mud to free her horse. The mighty horse was stuck fast in the mud and wouldn’t budge. That is when Nicole asked Paris to go and get help. Paris ran back to their car and took the help of a local farmer, who was close by. The local was generous enough to phone for help and even bring his own tractor to help the gentle animal.
While Paris ran for help, Nicole stayed by her horse, making sure that his head was held high. She tried her best to calm the horse down, as she knew that any struggling would result in Astro sinking even deeper into the pit. She also made sure that she wasn’t sinking in herself while rescuing her horse.
It was noon time when they got stuck in the thick mud. The tide was due to rise in a few hours, by about 5 p.m. The rescue team was there in about an hour’s time. Nicole said, ‘When I saw the dust from the rescue trucks, I was so relieved. I was starting to get overwhelmed.’
They were well aware of the rising tide and were determined to get the horse out before that. They used equipment such as a fire hose and a winch. But, the horse weighed way too much for the rescuers to just pull him out. As the horse was struggling a lot, veterinarian Stacey Sullivan decided to sedate the horse, so that he would remain still while he was being pulled out. A helicopter was put on standby as a last resort to be used for pulling out the horse if all other efforts failed.
Nicole stays by her horse through the entire ordeal and holds his head high up. She tries her best to keep him calm. She said, “It was terrifying. It was also heartbreaking to see my horse exhausted and struggling.”Finally, when Astro was sedated, the drug starts to take effect after a few minutes. It is then that the rescuers decide to use a tractor loaned by the local farmer to pull Astro out.
As Astro was sedated, he was partially asleep. This when the rescuers tied the horse firmly to the tractor. After three hours of struggling in the thick mud, Astro was finally pulled out. He was clearly exhausted and dehydrated. Soon after being pulled out, he collapsed on the ground. Nicole was able to breathe a sigh of relief as her loved one was rescued before the tide came in. After the effect of the sedation wore off, Astro was finally able to stand up, slowly, but strongly. The whole rescue team was ecstatic after the heroic effort.
It turns out that Astro was the hero of this ordeal. But, it was Nicole who held on to him, even though she was at risk of sinking into the mud herself. She is a proud owner of 10 horses and loves each horse equally. She wasn’t ready to let go of Astro and was determined to keep him breathing until help came. Her presence of mind, sheer willpower, determination and love for her horse are the reason why Astro is still breathing today. Every person who has a pet can take her to be a role model.