EDMONTON -- A horse owner is expressing her gratitude after firefighters and volunteers helped rescue one of her horses when it fell through ice and was trapped in freezing water for hours.  

Natalia Teplova noticed her horse, Lexi, was missing Saturday morning when she showed up at a boarder's property in southeast Edmonton for a lesson.  

"We went calling for the horses and usually they come up. This time, the other horses came up but she wasn't there," Teplova recalled.

She and her husband formed a small search party to check the rest of the property, and had almost given up looking for the animal when the horse her husband was riding called out—and Lexi responded.

"Then he called again and she responded again, and I started running," Teplova said.

They found the horse nearly fully submerged at the edge of a slough.

"Her head was sticking out above the ice. She was submerged all the way to her withers—her shoulders. Her front feet were out. She was barely holding up there."

Teplova called for help from others at the boarding property, as well as the owner. First, they slid some ropes around Lexi's body so she didn't sink further.

"I put my hands in just to get the ropes around, in the water, and within seconds, my hand went numb. So that was very, very cold," Teplova said.

They also called 911, prompting response from several firefighting units.

Together, rescuers wrapped a sling around Lexi and pulled her out with a bobcat.

By then, the horse had become mostly unresponsive. As she was put onto rescue float and pulled into the yard, Lexi was covered in blankets and checked by a veterinarian who said she was suffering from shock and hypothermia.

Although Lexi would later stand and begin moving around again, Teplova said Lexi is still recovering. She was in the water for at least six hours, it was estimated.

"We still have a battle ahead, trying to make sure she survives," her owner commented. The concern now is any effect Lexi experience from muscle wasting or poor circulation.

However, Teplova is hopeful—and overwhelmed with thanks to those at the property and emergency responders who helped.

"I'm so grateful they were able to make it here. Just hearing their sirens in the back, when they were approaching the property was a big relief."

Acccording to Teplova, the boarded horses often roam around the water—during the summer and winter—but that the ice wasn't thick enough to support the animal yet.