Wild Salt River horse, filly saved from canal near Mesa

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A Salt River wild horse and her baby were rescued from a canal near Mesa by firefighters Sunday night. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A Salt River wild horse and her baby were rescued from a canal near Mesa by firefighters Sunday night. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The mother horse was rescued after they were able to lasso the baby. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The mother horse was rescued after they were able to lasso the baby. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Due to their size, technical crews had a hard time rescuing them from the canal. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Due to their size, technical crews had a hard time rescuing them from the canal. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Both horses are expected to survive. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Both horses are expected to survive. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A couple of Salt River horses are alive thanks to the tireless effort of Mesa firefighters and the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group.

A wild horse and a filly got stuck in a Salt River Project canal near Thomas and Higley roads late Sunday night.

"We were dispatched around 9:45 for two wild horses that had fallen into the canal," said Steve Richards, a battalion chief with the Mesa Fire and Medical Department.

[RELATED: Salt River horses hit by cars prompt changes to Bush Highway]

The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group had contacted the fire department after they were unable to get the horses out themselves.

"Well, at first we attempted to lead the horse to the ramp because the [older horse] knew how to get out at the ramp," said Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. "But the baby kept floating away from her and then she ran right back after the baby.

"So we were hoping they'd be able to get out of the ramp but they floated past it and at that point, we actually had to rescue them."

[READ MORE: Tools stolen from Salt River wild horses group]

A technical crew arrived and began working to save the 10-month-old horse first.

"The two horses were starting to struggle and starting to drown," said Richards.

Due to their size, fire crews had a hard time rescuing the horses.

"Obviously, this is difficult because of the weight of the horses," said Richards. "We were told they weighed anywhere between 600 and 1000 pounds so just being able to pull that type of weight out of a canal is difficult."

Thankfully, they were able to rescue both the baby and the 2-year-old horse from the canal.

[RELATED: The best time to photograph Salt River wild horses]

"These firemen were absolutely amazing," said Netherlands. "This is really tough. These are wild horses. They don't want to be caught; they don't want ropes around them."

Netherlands believed the horses were probably just thirsty and went down the ramp to get water before the current swept them away.

Both Netherlands and Richards are optimistic the horses will survive.

[MORE: Couple, baby horse rescued in Salt River]

"Anytime you can have a good outcome is a good day for us," said Richards.

Netherlands said the horses will recuperate with a veterinarian before being transferred to a safer location. 

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