Shanita Fox-Pelletier helped save 15 horses when the barn at the Royal Road Equestrian Centre went up in flames early Monday morning.
But, tragically, the 17-year-old Mactaquac girl wasn't able to rescue her beloved horse Kingston.
Her mother Sharon, who also helped save the horses, was taken to hospital because of health problems she experienced after inhaling smoke during the rescue effort.
Fox-Pelletier and her mother were sleeping in an apartment over the giant barn on Royal Road, just outside Fredericton, when they were awakened by dogs barking and the smell of smoke.
"I was half awake," she said in an interview at the site of the ruined barn Monday morning.
She called 9-1-1 and then started rescuing horses.
"We ran straight to the back and got the horses from the back first," said Fox-Pelletier, who has been riding since she was six.
"But, sadly, by the time I got to the back of the barn my horse's stall was already completely engulfed in flames and the ceiling crashed down on top of him."
She said when the smoke got too intense, she had to run outside to get fresh air. When she had recovered, she ran back inside and saved as many horses as she could.
"We got all the horses out but him and two others," she said.
The barn was burning fiercely during the rescue.
"The entire right side of the barn was in flames," she said.
"The back of the left side had started flaming up. The flames must have spread along the back side of the barn. In minutes it was totally on fire and within minutes, it totally fell over."
Fox-Pelletier said she managed to remain calm as she was rescuing the horses.
"I wasn't scared when I ran in to get the horses because I've been taught to keep my cool for something like that. I got as many horses out as I could and then when the fire department arrived, we got out of the way and let them get to work. Then I was afraid because my horse was inside at the time and he never got out."
She said the horses being rescued also remained calm.
"None of them were screaming or kicking or making a big fuss.''
Fox-Pelletier said the horses acted the same as they always do in the morning when the stalls are opened and they go out to their pastures. "They ran out by themselves. They all ran out to the very far back pasture. Just out of instinct, they all ran out there."
"No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Laurence Olivier
What a brave, kind, generous young lady. So sad about her horse. Seconded that she'd have a ride for life if she were closer by. I can't even imagine watching the ceiling come down on mine - I'd lose it completely.
"The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief
To not only lose your own beloved horse in a fire but to also have the memories of seeing and hearing it as it happened is absolutely heart-wrenching. This happened to a young lady at my barn when I lost my horse in a fire several years ago, although she wasn't able to save any.
But to go back in and rescue the other horses in those first crushing moments of shock and grief... heroic.