Life in the mountains is not easy, especially if the mountains are in the midst of a snowstorm. People have been known to die in such conditions, whether they are permanent residents of such areas or are just there as a tourist on a hiking or skiing trip.
While animals are more accustomed to natural processes and weather changes, they can meet with the same fate if they get accidentally trapped in a storm. This fate was almost the case for an aging mare who found herself stuck in snow after a major storm in the Andes Mountains. Luckily, the horse, now named Garbanza, was rescued by young snowboarders.
Stuck in Four Feet of Snow
When Rafael Pease found her, the horse looked to him like a rock at first. When he realized it was a mare, he immediately decided to help her.
Garbanza was stuck in four feet of snow that reached up to her abdomen. She wasn’t trying to move anymore and would have died if left there any longer. Later, it was found that the horse had been missing for four days, and she was lucky to be alive when Pease found her.
Avoiding a Terrible Fate
If a horse is stuck in snow like this for too long, its muscle mass and body condition play a big role in its survival. Most horses are able to live out the cold but actually die of hunger. This terrible fate could have been met by Garbanza too, had she not been rescued.
The muscles of a horse keep providing it with enough heat to live in extreme cold for some days, but it is amazing how Garbanza managed to live for four whole days under the conditions she was found in. It is thought, however that the horse must not have been stuck for all of the four days that she was missing because it doesn’t make sense for her to have survived this long at her age.
Horses can die by cold as well. All efforts by the body to regulate body temperature, like shivering and vessel constriction, are exhausted after a certain period of time and the core body temperature drops to a point where the horse goes into shock, which leads to death.
Humans to the Rescue
Pease realized that this was a dire situation and helped the mare get down from the mountain. He, along with his partner, dug the snow out from around and under the horse. They then created a path down the mountains to help the horse walk back to the village below. The horse was reunited with her owner who then told Pease that Garbanza hadn’t been seen for four days.
Although Garbanza was rescued, her struggle is not yet over. All that time stuck in snow have caused damage to her muscles and not having eaten in four days affected her digestive system. It might take a while for Garbanza get to her normal state again. But at least, thanks to Pease and his snowboarding partner, she’s alive and luckily to have avoided a very terrible fate.