The Branham property in Mesa, Ariz. is fairly extensive -- large enough for a horse barn. The horses are free to wander where they please, including into the family's backyard space.
Stormy, a 12-year-old Arabian stallion, had lived on the property for most of his life and had never gotten himself into trouble, but that changed one Saturday morning in October 2014.
Mark Branham was in the backyard playing ball with the family dogs when something went wrong. "All of a sudden I heard 'splash!'" Branham told 12News at azcentral. "I turned around ... and he's in the pool. He's got hind legs in the pool, and he's trying to pull himself out."
Even with assistance from family members, Branham was unable to help the stallion out of the pool. He called 911 for a rescue, but by the time Mesa firefighters arrived, Branham said, "Stormy had given up. He was on his side, floating. We were keeping his head above water."
The firefighters called a veterinarian, and a plan was made: the doctor would give Stormy a sedative to keep him still while the firefighters wrapped straps around him and hoisted him out of the water.
It took thirteen men working together, but the plan worked. Stormy was safely lifted out of the pool and gently dragged to a grassy area of the yard. The rescue was recorded on video; watch the entire drama, posted by Storyful, below.
Stormy was a little wobbly when the sedative wore off, but the only injuries were scrapes on his legs. The veterinarian stayed nearby until he was satisfied the horse was stable; before he left, he gave the stallion antibiotics to prevent any infection.
Stormy is back to roaming the yard as he pleases, but it's a good bet that he doesn't get near the pool anymore. "We told him no more full gainers off the diving board," joked Branham.