Firefighters rescue horse from muddy ditch in Oswestry
Firefighters rescued an elderly horse from a muddy ditch in Oswestry.
It took the strength of more than 15 firefighters, from Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service's animal rescue team based in Wellington, to pull the animal out of the mud filled ditch in a 90-minute rescue operation.
The horse, called Chance, had slipped on a muddy bank on the edge of a field at Sarn Farm, St Martin's, in Oswestry, at around 5.30pm on January 18, and toppled onto his back into a ditch - almost one foot deep with mud.
Tangled in wire fencing and hedgerow, the distressed horse was unable to get back onto his feet when he was found by the owner's daughter Rosie Mackay, 26, and partner Louis Davies, who had been searching for the pet horse by torchlight.
Mother-of-two Rosie, of Castle Street, Oswestry, who dialled 999 while Louis used wire cutters to free the animal from the fencing, said: "The back legs were trapped in pig wire and he was upside down, three foot or four foot down the back when we found him.
"It was pitch black. We were panicking and the horse was shaking.
"I thought he was going to die."
Oswestry and Ellesmere firefighters arrived at the scene and immediately called out the specialist crew from Wellington fire station - who are trained in large and difficult animal rescues. They cut away undergrowth and wire fencing and put up floodlights ready for the rescue team.
A vet from Dee Valley tended to the animal, while firefighters got to work to rescue Chance at just before 7pm. Strops were carefully threaded under the animal's waist and chest in an intricate operation before firefighters could pull her from the thick mud.
Firefighter Barry Morfill, who was part of the rescue team led by Phil Woodhouse and Jez Long, said: "She got to her feet and managed to walk on her own, hobbling a bit with a sore leg."
The 26-year-old grey Arabian Arab is now recovering well after his ordeal.
Ms Mackay, whose mother Mandy owns Chance, said: "The firefighters were superb, they were so good.
"I thought they were going to have to put him down, but now Chance is settled in the stable and recovering well."
Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service gets called out to an average of 70 animal rescues annually - with the number increasing every year.