NEAR MESA, AZ(3TV/CBS 5)-- A morning group horse ride turned into a tense situation after one of the horses got stuck got in the Salt River, trapped by mud and weeds.

The horse was submerged in water with only part of her neck and head sticking out to breathe.

Luckily, she didn't drown.

The horse's owner didn't want to give her name, but said she's an experienced rider who tried to cross the river while riding 15-year-old mare named Georgie.

[WATCH: Georgie's owner explains what happened]

The owner was able to get off the horse and make her way safely to shore. She was not hurt.

She left her cell phone in her SUV, but was able to borrow a cell phone from a passing kayaker and called 911.

"She yelled out to the river when we were passing," said kayaker Mark Mccloskey. "She was upset."

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Lake Patrol (MCSO) and Mesa Fire Department's technical rescue team responded to the scene near the Phon D Sutton Recreation Area.

[RAW VIDEO: The rescue operation]

[VIDEO: MCSO Lake Patrol and Mesa Fire Swift Water team rescue horse from Salt River]

Arizona Family’s news chopper flew overhead as crews rescued the horse by leading it out with a rope.

Mesa Fire Captain Matt Kobylinski helped lead the technical rescue.

He said the water was deep and the team had to rely on their life jackets to float.

"Whenever you're working with an animal, it makes it difficult," he explained. "We train for the unexpected."

"The horse was actually about 18 to 24 inches deep in the soot, plus wrapped up in all the reeds struggling to get out," added Kobylinski.

He said they had to use knives and scissors to cut the reeds back and pulled each hoof out -- one by one.

Communication was crucial since they were working underwater and being conscious of not slicing their team members' ands.  

"We were working around the horse on each side, not so much behind the horse knowing that it could buck... trying to stay away from the head because we know it could panic and might want to bite or something like that," added Kobylinski.

Crews were able to get Georgie back to land.

Arizona's Family was there when she was reunited with her owner, who was a bit embarrassed by the nerve-wracking ordeal.

Both human and horse are tired, but doing OK.

"Oh my gosh, the guys (rescuers) were awesome. They were right there, did everything we needed and we're so grateful," she said. "I think she's (Georgie) is fine."


Recommended for you