The Rescue of Belle and Sundance

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The Rescue of Belle and Sundance

Birgit Stutz

Publisher:Random House Australia

In December 2008, two abandoned pack horses, a young mare named Belle and an older gelding called Sundance, are spotted by snowmobilers in the remote mountains of the Canadian Rockies. Starving and exhausted, they've trampled the snow into a deep white closet, with walls towering over them. Others manage to reach the horses, bringing hay but also a gun, in case the horses are too far gone. A slight sign of life in the horses' eyes gets them the hay. The 8-day story of their near impossible rescue, involving a trench dug by dozens of volunteers six feet deep and a kilometre long, and then a 30-kilometre descent for the frostbitten humans and wretchedly weak and emaciated horses in minus 40 degrees temperatures, and a Christmas Eve transfer to a foster farm, is sure to be read in one breathless sitting. The austerely beautiful setting and the riveting details (the horses' bond to one another led to their abandonment, they ate one another's tails for protein, and their first meal could be only 'flakes' of hay, and Gatorade) add to this tale of animal resilience and trust, and human stamina and compassion.

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