PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – A horse was wedged between two trees after a freak accident left the animal struggling to breathe. Time was running out as his owner considered putting him out of his misery.

When Nike’s owner Kathy Carpenter first discovered him upside down, with his head lodged in between two trees, she wasn’t sure if he would even survive. But thanks to some quick thinking, he did.

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“We all can’t believe he’s alive and standing,” said Carpenter.

Strangled by two trees, Nike slipped in the snow and ended up stuck in a dangerous situation.

“He had just laid down in his spot to take a little nap, and he turned into a toboggan and slid 63 feet down the hill, hit a group of oak trees, which flung him around and upside down, and he was lodged,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter says she couldn’t believe it, even when she saw it for herself. She can only describe it as a freak accident.

“You couldn’t have had engineers try and plan it,” she said.

Carpenter says it was immediately clear Nike was in trouble. He was struggling for every breath.

“His neck was wedged in a ‘Y.’ It was squeezing so tight and it was cutting off the circulation,” said Carpenter.

Some neighbors, Carpenter’s son and Nike’s vet showed up to help. At first they weren’t sure how to get him free.

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“It’s like ‘oh my gosh, we got to put him down. We got to put him out of his misery.’ There was just no way we could maneuver a big animal out of the tight position he was in,” said Carpenter.

Carpenter says Nike was starting to give up. So they decided to use a chainsaw to cut down the trees.
It was a dangerous job that involved sawing right next to Nike’s neck.

“(We) had to get it so close, but we still couldn’t break it,” said Carpenter.

Eventually they used a handsaw to finish the job. Nike then rolled over and was able to get up on his own.

“As soon as he got up, he got to his feet. He whinnied and the others ones whinnied back,” said Carpenter.

The horse that survived being lodged upside down is now up on all fours with one incredible tale.

“It was a Christmas miracle; it really was,” said Carpenter.

Nike did suffer some trauma to his spinal cord and does have some muscle tissue damage; but, his owner hopes he will make a full recovery.

Stuck for two hours between the trees, Nike is still taking steroids and antibiotics for his injuries.

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It’s still unclear if he will suffer any nerve damage from the fall.