This is the heart stopping moment a pony nearly drowns when floods tear through paddocks in Dunedin, New Zealand on Saturday.
The South Canterbury woman and her husband, Ben, considered donning wetsuits and wading into the floodwaters on their Hakataramea Valley farm to save the horses and miniature pony, which were stranded on an island in what had hours earlier been a dry creek bed.
But with large pieces of debris rushing past, the pair just couldn’t risk it.
Luckily, the appearance of a “humungous” tree being swept down the torrent was enough to spook the horses into making a dash towards the bank.
“I swim the big horses in summer so they’re really capable, but my little mini, Thunder, didn’t know what to do,” she said.
“She was pretty lucky one of the big horses led her out.”
They captured the dramatic dash to safety on video.
Just hours earlier, before the usually dry creek bed was transformed into a raging river, Ferguson and her husband had headed out to check on the horses.
“They were up on the hills, it was the perfect place.
“We thought they were the safest animals on the whole farm.”
But about an hour before darkness was set to fall, Ferguson looked out of her kitchen window and saw the horses and pony trying to make the crossing.
“It was pretty intense, it was like watching a nightmare happening in front of your eyes.”
Despite the dramatic adventure, the horses and Thunder were “happy as Larry” on Saturday.
While the animals were safe and sound, the Fergusons’ farm was cut off by flood waters.
“The roads are impassable,” Ferguson said.
The state of emergency was also in force in Christchurch, Selwyn, Dunedin, Waitaki and Otago, while Christchurch was on high alert after the Heathcote River broke its banks.