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Pope Ranch Rescues Seven Horses from South Carolina Flooding

Over the past several days, severe flooding in South Carolina has destroyed roads, bridges, homes and lives. The death toll stands at 17 lives lost. As reported by Weather.Com, South Carolina Emergency Management Division states that more than 250 roads and 100 bridges have been closed. The cost of the flooding could cost the state close to 1 billion dollars. These floods also have a tie to our horse show community. On Wednesday, South Carolina horse trainer, Shane Pope, his father, Johnny, and Uncle Darrell as well as farrier, Keith Rabon were called on by friends to help horses stranded in the flood.

“These horses were stranded because of the rapid water levels rising on the Black River,” Holt Graham-Pope told us, whose husband, Shane, was a part of the rescue effort. This rescue took place at historic, Lawshe Plantation in Andrews, South Carolina not far from their farm in Conway. “Pope Ranch has rescued seven horses so far due to the flooding in the area. The flooding is worse than any I’ve ever seen, and they say it is going to get worse as the waters are breaching the dams inland and coming down river to our shores. Thankfully, our farm and house hasn’t been affected.”

boatTrainer Shane Pope, who is also an avid boater, loaded up his boat and drove over to the Lawshe Plantation to help rescue four horses. He describes in detail what happened. “When we got the phone call to see if we could help or had any ideas, we weren’t really sure of what we were getting into,” Shane remembers. “So we got the boat ready and grabbed a bunch of halters, ropes and various other safety equipment. Our farrier, Keith Rabon, was in the middle of shoeing one when I got the call, and he immediately said he’d come help.”

The group jurescuemped in their trucks, but not before they made several calls to see which roads they could use since a lot of the roads are still underwater.

“When we got to the plantation, we drove as far down the driveway as we could and the land owner was waiting on us,” Shane explained. “He gave us a quick description of where the roads originally were and showed us where a pond was in that area as well. They estimated the water to be eight feet deep where the road was, so we backed the boat in and drove about 400 yards to the 30 acre pasture that the four horses were in. ”

Shane continues, “They weren’t completely under water, yet, but our concern was that with the water continuing to rise throughout the week, this might be the only time we could get them out safely. With more water and less dry land would come panic causing the horses to swim through the no climb wire horse fence, creating all kinds of health hazards. We decided to take two at a time and made two trips. We kept them at the bow to keep them away from the prop and backed the boat all the way back to the landing where the horse trailer was.”

Luckily, Shane says there wasn’t a water current fighting them, and they were able to do things in a palominocontrolled manner. “We weighed all of our options and made sure everything was as safe as possible for both us and the horses,” Shane says.

To view the video of the horses being brought in by the boat, CLICK HERE.

“The horses are all safe and dry here on our farm now. For as many horses as I used to take swimming in the ponds for fun when I was a kid, I never thought I’d have to swim horses under these conditions; pulling them by boat to safety.”

Holt adds, “I’m not sure if Pope Ranch is located on an island or what but our farm is dry and all the rescued horses are warm, cozy and dry now. Seven horses so far have had to swim out for safety, but they are all good. I’m proud of Shane, Johnny, Darrell and Keith Rabon. The guys used great horsemanship skills to get these horses safely back to dry land.”

pope_rescue2Previously, on Monday, Pope Ranch also rescued three horses from a farm down the road where the water level at the time was about knee deep. “It is completely submerged now though,” Holt states. “There was no dry ground there at the time.”

According to Holt, the news about the brave rescue by her husband and crew has gone viral. The local news station was at their ranch on Thursday, and there have been nearly 50,000 views in fewer than 24 hours of the video posted on her Facebook page.

To view the Facebook video of the rescue, please CLICK HERE.

Photos Courtesy of the Pope Family