The reason I (re) wrote this moving account is that I was born in Hijum, only a stone's throw away from Makkum 86 years ago,' but even more because it makes me proud to be part of these brave women by being born a Frisian. Sincere thanks to my son in law Allan McLeod from Philadelphia who woke me up to this
What made these noble animals hunkering together awaiting death in the frigid waters of the north Sea? Was it for warmth and comfort that they crouched together or was it fear?
More than hundred-twenty horses were forced together on a fast decreasing strip of land in the midst of a steadily rising sea. A heavy storm was approaching fast, making the water come up higher yet to swallow up the last piece of land above the water line. And no help in sight for the horses.
There was one woman following the desperate situation and sounded the alarm.
Norma Miedema is not only a woman with a compassionate heart for animals but one with a strong perseverance. She alarmed the authorities about the plight of the desperate animals ready to give up, comforting the dying horses and trying to save a drowning foal, who still died in her arms. The forty year old woman waded into the cold water neck deep to cut barbed wire fences to make a safe path for the horses on their way toward the shore.
Yet she had to fight the authorities to take action without cooperation from them, even offering to ride her own horse to entice and lead the stranded animals to shore, but they had 'better ideas.' Finally, when the international press got involved putting the bureaucrats in a bad light they came into action. But real action had to come from one of the six horse-women, Micky Nyboer, who called in the Frisian Horse Forum for “…only experienced riders with horses without fear of water,” exactly what Mrs Miedema had wanted.
Six rider teams answered the call and eventually four women of the six riders got the call to approach and entice the more than hundred still alive horses. When they were right close, they turned around and it was then that the wonder happened.
You have to watch the video to experience and appreciate the home coming of those grand animals and their rescuers...
The six woman riders were -
Susan Frances riding Blizzard,
Micky Nyboer riding Berber,
Antje Dijkstra riding Humphrey,
Hinke Lap riding Guinevere,
Christina Stormer riding Perfect, and
Farrow de Ruiter riding King,
all were justifiably recognized by press and government for their bravery.
Norma Miedema meanwhile, who stayed to the final rescue, was totally exhausted and contracted pneumonia. She was also totally ignored by media and authorities...*
*all pertinent information is from Quinton de Verneuil BWP 2008