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'Beyond grateful': Horses recovering at home following I-90 crash near Billings

Overturned trailer on I-90
Posted at 9:55 PM, Mar 27, 2024

BILLINGS — According to Montana State University, there are between 150,000 and 180,000 horses in the state of Montana. It’s clear the Treasure State is home to thousands of equine enthusiasts—but this weekend, a horse-loving Havre couple experienced one of their worst nightmares after finding out three of their beloved horses were involved in a weather-related interstate crash.

The three horses were transported to Montana Equine in Billings for treatment following the crash. While they all survived, each suffered different injuries that will require time and money for recovery.

Horses after the crash
Horses after the crash

"I grew up with horses my whole life,” said Meghan Holt, who owns the injured horses, on Wednesday.

Holt has always had a heart for horses.

"I take very good care of them, and they’re a part of me,” Holt said.

She grew up on a small ranch in Chinook, 20 miles east of Havre. Her now-husband Kenny also grew up with horses but went all-in when marrying Meghan.

"One Christmas, Meghan and I actually met and we started dating and went from there. Now I'm a horse guy,” Kenny said on Wednesday.

Meghan and Kenny
Meghan and Kenny

The two live in Havre and are now expecting their first child.

"We’re just over six months," Meghan said. "We're over halfway."

Meghan and the three horses
Meghan and the three horses

But with four total horses to care for, the Holts were offered help from some out-of-state friends.

"They were like, ‘Yeah, just send them down here and we’ll take care of them. You guys worry about your pregnancy.’ So that was the plan," Meghan said. "We were super excited about it."

Three of their horses, driven by family friends, were headed to Nebraska on Sunday when disaster struck.

"They were like, ‘We got in a wreck. Everybody’s okay but you need to come back.’ It was a phone call you never want to have,” Meghan said.

I-90 was covered with ice. The horse trailer jackknifed and ended up on its side in the median east of Lockwood along with the pickup truck that was pulling it.

Overturned trailer on I-90
Overturned trailer on I-90

The Holts found out while they were driving home, and they immediately turned around and headed to the scene.

"We turned right around. We’re actually the ones that picked up the horses,” Kenny said.

Luckily, the driver, passenger, and their 6-year-old son were okay—and all three horses survived. But not without injury.

"They knew, they were like, we need help," Meghan said. "Hopefully we’ll all make a full recovery. It’s not very often that a wreck like this happens that you walk away with all three animals without way more critical injuries than what we did have."

Doolittle, Yellow, and Koa were transported to Montana Equine in Billings where Dr. Emily Green jumped into action.

One of the injured horses
One of the injured horses

"We had gotten a photo before they arrived of the trailer and the wreck itself so I was pretty concerned," Green, who is finishing up her internship at Montana Equine, said on Wednesday. "But you know, when they showed up, all three horses walked right off the trailer. I thought they were actually doing pretty well, all things considered."

Another injured horse
Another injured horse

Green said things like this don’t happen often. But luckily, the team at Montana Equine, located at 2312 Kimble Dr., knew just what to do.

Dr. Emily Green
Dr. Emily Green

"I’ve only really ever seen one other kind of wreck like that. I would say it doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s a pretty traumatic experience," Green said. "It’s our priority to make sure that the patients are cared for first and foremost, but also a big part of vet medicine is also taking care of the clients as well."

The Holts are just grateful their horses are okay—and for the outpouring of support from the community. A GoFundMe was set up by Meghan's sister to assist with costs associated with the accident. The tow alone for the truck and trailer cost over $4,000 and the trailer had to be sent to scrap, on top of medical bills for their horses.

Doolittle, Yellow, and Koa at Montana Equine
Doolittle, Yellow, and Koa at Montana Equine

"Words can’t express it at all. We’re beyond grateful,” Meghan said. “Hopefully we can give back to everybody the way they’ve been helping us."

"We’re more than thankful for everybody’s support and help," Kenny said. "I just hope that we can pay it forward down the line."

To view the GoFundMe set up for the Holts, click here.