Hero Saves 25+ Horses from Houston Flooding Justin Nelzen saves horses during Houston's extreme flooding.

Hero Saves 25+ Horses from Houston Flooding

Saving Horses’ Lives

A horse trainer is being called a hero the day after he saved more than 25 horses from drowning in Houston’s raging flood waters. Justin Nelzen humbly says he isn’t so sure about the title. “I’m definitely no hero,” he tells us.

Nelzen says he loves Edmund Burke’s famous quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Expanding the thought Nelzen says, “at the end of the day all I can hope for is to be that good man.”

Horse hero Justin Nelzen swims next to a horse he is bringing to shore during Houston's flooding.
Horse trainer Justin Nelzen risked himself to save dozens of horses from drowning when Houston flooded in 2016.

Nelzen, of Spring, TX learned on Monday, April 18, that horses at Cypress Trails Equestrian Center in Humble were in need of help after the farm was overtaken by water. “When I got there immediately I noticed a horse was caught up in a fence and was in danger of drowning”.

Nelzen says onlookers watched from the shoreline as the horse struggled. That’s when Nelzen took action. A strong swimmer with dive training, he grabbed a red life vest from the ground and entered the murky floodwaters fraught with a strong current, underbrush, barb wire fencing, gates, and a flurry of ants.

The water was moving fast making the scene dangerous, but he swam to the horse and was able to free the animal. “That started a chain reaction and suddenly people were screaming at me every time they would see a horse trapped,” Nelzen says.

Captured on Video

Horse hero

Nelzen owns eight horses. He is a farrier, trains and races endurance horses and spent time in the military. Nelzen, the owner of EquiPro, says seeing the majestic creatures struggle for their lives was heartbreaking.

Cindy Garza showed her pride by posting, “great job, good heart, Justin Nelzen, my sweet little horseshoer [sic].”

Nelzen tells us the hardest horse rescue came when he was repelling off a bridge. The water current was strongest there and the horse had been struggling for a long time. “I was able to drag it [the horse] over three logs, pushed it under one and get it to shore.”

After a while, others helped and Nelzen says the rescue became a real “team effort”.

“I absolutely could not have done it without everyone’s help,” Nelzen says. “It was great to see the community come together and pull for these amazing animals”. Nelzen was told he rescued 15 horses. He also helped rescue about a dozen horses stranded in their stalls in the Cypress Trails Equestrian Center barn.

Nelzen tells us none of the horses he saw were tied, but they had halters and lead ropes on them. Photos of Nelzen’s heroic lifesaving efforts have been seen internationally via digital and print media outlets. Animal lovers everywhere are singing his praises after he risked his own life to save others’ horses.

There were a few horses Nelzen says he couldn’t help. “I witnessed a few die…” He says he also saw some of the horses get washed away, but doesn’t know their fate. “I’m sad about the ones we didn’t save.”

“The situation was sad and unfortunate. I’m just glad I was there to step in, take control and help,” Nelzen adds.