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Good Samaritans rescued 10 horses stranded in Oceano floodwaters

Videos surfaced on social media of horses stuck in the middle of floodwaters after a levee broke in Oceano earlier this week. A group of horse owners jumped into action to save the large animals.
Posted at 6:12 PM, Jan 13, 2023

As the road to recovery continues following Monday’s storm, we learn more about the difference Good Samaritans have made.

“We saw animals in a stressful situation where they were going to die or get sick,” said Krystie Hinkle, who helped rescue horses in Oceano. 

Videos surfaced on social media of horses stuck in the middle of floodwaters after a levee broke in Oceano earlier this week.

“The water was up to their chest, they were shivering, they were crying, it was just very sad, we couldn’t leave them like that,” said Brittany Gamble, who joined the volunteer rescue group.

On Tuesday, this group of friends and horse owners jumped into action. They created a group chat now named Seahorse Team 6.

“Like within an hour, we had three trailers, three trucks and 10 horses out of the water,” Hinkle explained.

Despite knowing the risk of walking into potentially polluted water, this team was not about to give up.

“We took extra halters. I made sure I had my crocs on because I didn’t want to step on any rocks,” Gamble recalled. “The horses had their heads over the fence as if 'get me, get me out of here.'”

“They were in distress but they kind of just clinged to us for security and we just walked them out of the water,” said Brea Stine, who also went to Oceano to help out.

And just like that, 10 horses made it to safety. The group says the rescued horses are being kept at a boarding facility in Arroyo Grande.

“Everyone is eating and drinking. They dried off very quickly when we got them here,” Stine said. “They all ate. No one has been sick. They are in a nice, safe place for this next batch of rain.”

On Monday, these volunteers also rescued sheep from a friend’s property in Oceano. Those are being taken care of in Nipomo.

“If I was in that situation, I would hope anyone would save my horses. They are family,” Stine said. “You know these horses and their owners have a special bond. ”

The group of volunteers recommends animal owners prepare for the anticipated round of rain hitting the Central Coast this weekend. Some tips include having enough food, covering the feed to protect it from the rain, and making sure there is enough clean water for the livestock.

KSBY News reached out to San Luis Obispo County Animal Services, and they recommended planning ahead of a weather event. Animal Services Manager Dr. Eric Anderson said evacuating early is always better.

The agency discourages people from putting themselves in a dangerous situation by wanting to help an animal.

If you are in need of support for an evacuation, they say calling the Horse Emergency Evacuation Team (HEET) is a good option. You can reach them at (805) 466-7457.

If you see an animal in distress because of floodwaters, you should call Animal Services at (805) 781-4400. You can also reach out to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.