Fire crews save horse from a watery grave
A dramatic rescue in the snow and thick mud has ended happily after an elderly horse got stuck in an icy, water-filled ditch.
Fire crews were called after horse owner Faye Davis discovered her 21-year-old mare, Chant, had become trapped while sheltering from the snow beneath trees.
A complex operation, using ropes, harnesses and machines, got under way to free the rugged mare, who had tried to shelter overnight as the snow moved in.
"All we can think is she must have slipped and slid into the ditch, which was underneath a hedge and tree branches, and then become completely stuck," said Faye who admitted to being very distressed at the sight of her four-legged friend lying cold, covered in mud and helpless.
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"We were really worried that the fire crews would not be able to get her out alive – Chant is very much part of the family having been with us for nine years, so she means a huge amount to us."
Firstly the fire crews, from Burnham-On-Sea and Bridgwater, had to cut and remove the thick vegetation surrounding Chant to improve the access to her in her field, in Burrow. They then applied a harness before using a JCB to carefully lift her out of the ditch to safety.
Photographer Catriona Newman said: "The horse was completely still when it was pulled from the ditch, raising fears it had been injured or had died.
"It was a heart-stopping moment when the fire crews released the harness and ropes around her. It all went quiet and then suddenly the mare got up – much to the delight of everyone. We all burst into cheers. It was wonderful to see the relief on the owner's face."
Catriona added: "I have to admit that when I first arrived I felt that there was little chance of the horse being rescued alive but as the team of men set to work I could see that they were going to get a result. It was one of the stories that I'm pleased to see had a happy ending."
Faye expressed her relief. "We are incredibly grateful to the fire crews – they did such a marvellous job in very difficult conditions and we cannot thank them enough. I still have to pinch myself that she is now safe and sound."