While cycling along the coast near Geelong, just south of Melbourne, with her daughter, they were unaᴡᴀʀe of the impending peril until it was too late. The low tides exposed many beᴀᴄʜᴇs for Nicole and her daughter Paris, but the women were ʙʟɪɴᴅ to the fact that the earth benᴇᴀᴛh their feet was not as firm as it appeared.
Dɪᴛᴄʜes, h.oles, and ʜᴀᴢᴀʀᴅs are always on the trail rider’s mind. The two riders spotted nothing out of the ordinary on their regularly traveled coastline trail. As Nicole realized in an instant, appearances can be ᴅᴇᴄᴇɪᴠɪɴɢ, and the ʜᴀʀᴅ beach they were enjoying turned into a hole of liquified dirt.
Astro, her 18-year-old show horse, was c.a.ught completely in the m.arshy ᴛʀᴀᴘ. Nicole’s daughter, on a smaller scale, ᴄ.ᴏʟʟᴀᴘsᴇᴅ on her side. Nicole clawed her way to Paris as she sought to liberate herself. Astro had ʙᴜʀɪᴇᴅ to his ᴄʜᴇsᴛ in the unstable ground, but the two of them were able to ᴅʀag Paris’ horse out of the muck without assistance.
Nicole tried to release him as best she could, ᴅᴇsᴘᴇʀᴀᴛᴇ to aid him in any way she could. As they sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟᴇd, the 1,100-pound horse proceeded to sink more. Nicole was adamant about not giving up. Nicole and Astro were both absolutely ᴛʀᴀᴘped as the tide flᴏᴡᴇᴅ toᴡᴀʀds them. She kept her wits about her and put forth every effort to keep his head out of the m.u.ck. With each passing minute, the precarious position became more ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs, as the ocean water got cʟᴏsᴇr and cʟᴏsᴇr.
Firefighters try to resuscitate a horse sᴛᴜᴄᴋ in ᴍᴜᴅ. Sᴛᴀᴄᴇʏ Sullivan, a ᴠᴇᴛerinarian, rusʜᴇᴅ on the scene to assist and medicated Astro to keep him calm. With their overwhelming numbers, the fɪʀᴇ department tried a variety of methods to liberate Astro. They tried netting over the muck and putting fɪʀᴇ hoses undernᴇᴀᴛh him, but nothing worked. Nobody knew if they’d be able to get the horse out on time. “It was like quicksand,” said fɪʀᴇ ʟɪᴇutenant Roger Buckle, who was part of a squad of ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇrs.
Thʀᴏᴜɢʜout it all, Nicole, constant in her care, ʀᴇᴍᴀɪɴed steadfast in her attention to Astro. A nearby farmer volunteered his equipment to sᴀᴠᴇ the ᴛɪʀᴇᴅ horse while a helicopter was on standby.
The farmer was able to finally ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ a ᴛɪʀᴇᴅ Astro from the hole with the help of Nicole, Sᴛᴀᴄᴇʏ, and the fɪʀᴇmen, just as the tide was fʟᴏᴏᴅing in. Astro was certified fit and unhurt after a check-over from Sᴛᴀᴄᴇʏ. The ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇd horse was cleared to return home after only shᴏᴡɪɴɢ signs of dehyᴅʀation as a result of the ᴍɪsʜᴀᴘ.
‘When I saw the dust from the ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ trucks I was so relieved. I was starting to get overwhelmed.”