A video has captured the agonising minutes it took to save a group of 11 horses after they fell through unstable ice into freezing waters in Russia.

The ice is normally more than half a metre thick and safe for the animals to walk on.

The video of the precarious rescue was shared by a Russian farmer on Instagram this week, and shows the group working to pull the horses with ropes and chains out of the freezing water.

The horses can be seen spluttering and panicking with many struggling to keep their heads above water during the ordeal. As they are pulled from the water one by one, some collapse with exhaustion on the edge of the ice.


In an Instagram post the farmer said changeable weather over the winter season had led to a thinning of the ice, and the mares, familiar with walking in the area, got into trouble when it collapsed below them.

The farmer said the group acted quickly, using ropes and a mechanical loading machine to pull the exhausted animals from the freezing water.

"Thank God everything worked out, they pulled everyone out, acted promptly," the original post said.