Polish farmer Marek Słodkowski stood no chance of helping the horse alone, and she was getting weaker by the hour. All he could do, it seemed, was love her and stroke her and tell her how much he didn’t want her to die. For a man who has a strong bond with his horse, he must have felt like he was trapped in a nightmare.
After all, it had begun as an ordinary day for Słodkowski. Indeed, things only took a turn for the worse after he heard strange noises coming from his garage. Before he went to investigate, though, Słodkowski made sure to record everything on a GoPro camera.
This is just as well because what Słodkowski found when he walked into the garage gave him the shock of his life. Indeed, the horse he’d named Freedom had unfortunately walked into the open space normally used for fixing cars, and she’d fallen through some weak boards covering a maintenance pit.
Freedom couldn’t move and had no chance of getting out on her own; it was up to Słodkowski to save her. So he drive quickly to his barn, filled a trailer with hay bales and sped back to the struggling horse.
The hay wasn’t intended for Freedom to eat, however. The worried farmer planned to use the material to stuff under Freedom and give her some footing to escape. In this way, he hoped that she would live up to her name.
“She got in here, the wood boards… they broke under her weight,” Słodkowski explained in the video. “So we got some hay in there. Maybe she can press that hay down and get a little bit higher.” It was a sound plan, but something more clearly needed to be done.
Indeed, Freedom was fading fast. There were even times when the exhausted horse looked like she was drifting out of consciousness. Her human wouldn’t let her slip away, though. In fact, the love that Słodkowski showed for his pride and joy was beautiful, tapping her awake and softly telling her, “Don’t die, don’t die.”
When he couldn’t get Freedom out by himself, however, the farmer called in some backup. “I decided to call the fire department; as you can see, they showed up in force,” the worried horse daddy said, as he dashed up the drive to greet the reinforcements.
A fire crew of 12 emergency workers turned up to try and help Freedom. But from the looks on their faces, it was clear that they didn’t see this as an easy job. Nevertheless, Słodkowski greeted them and shook their hands in gratitude as he walked into the garage to hear their plan.
“If she doesn’t want to get up on her own, we won’t be able to lift her out,” one of the fire fighters lamented as Freedom’s would-be rescuers stood around her. But then someone had an idea. “Marek, maybe we should get the hoses now?” he said.
Słodkowski agreed to the plan, and the rescue team began threading their fire hoses underneath Freedom. It was a clever idea, and the team soon had a makeshift hammock netted below the horse. It was there to support her weight while they positioned themselves at either side, ready to hoist her.
Freedom seemed to know that the humans surrounding her were there to help, and she didn’t struggle as the hoses were worked under her body. The fire crew and Słodkowski, meanwhile, prepared to do some heavy lifting.
The supports in place, the whole team heaved with everything they had. Freedom also gave it her best to use their leverage and get out of the hole. And it looked like it was going to work, but just as the horse was gaining purchase, her energy reserves ran out.
The exhausted Freedom laid her head on the floor and collapsed where she stood, panting for breath. Słodkowski stayed by her side, stroking her neck and reassuring her that “it would be okay.” But it seemed like she’d given everything she had and it just wasn’t enough; now she was ready to give up.
Słodkowski was clearly worried. “I’ve had horses for 13 years. Never had anything like this happen before… I’m at a loss for ideas,” he confessed. Naturally, he was beginning to worry that Freedom wasn’t going to be getting out of the maintenance pit alive.
Freedom must have been sharing his worries, because suddenly the equine found her second wind and sprung to life. Indeed, she got to her feet and almost climbed out herself. Although she didn’t quite make it, she was up and fighting, and that was a good sign.
Later, a veterinarian was called to the scene, and he and Słodkowski conversed inside the garage. “She’s standing up once again,” Słodkowski told the vet. “But at one point, I really thought, ‘this is it.’”
So after the team manually shifted the horse’s hooves to give her better purchase, they made one last lift for Freedom’s freedom. Fortunately, this time the trapped horse clambered her way outside of the pit and made a dash out of the garage.
It was a long and draining experience for both Słodkowski and the horse. “After 12 hours of being stuck, Freedom was liberated and is now happily roaming a pasture in Poland,” the YouTube video concluded. In fact, Freedom couldn’t have looked any happier.
Without her rescuers, though, Freedom surely would have died, and her daddy was touched by all the help that he received. “She is very happy to be alive and out of that horrible hole,” he wrote on his YouTube channel. “Once again thanks to everyone that made it possible, so that I can [go] for a ride with my horse friend on this sunny day.”