A 27-year-old horse was rescued by the Army during the fireman’s strike last weekend after it became trapped in a ravine in Bolton, Lancashire.

A Green Goddess and her crew attended the farm in Bolton, after Cassie a 15hh grey gelding was found trapped in mud at the bottom of a 20ft ravine on Saturday evening (1 February).

Faced with the daunting task of trying to rescue Cassie in the dark the army called firefighter Kirk Cornwall for assistance. Kirk, a sub officer at fire service headquarters has extensive experience in rescuing large animals and volunteered to help despite the fact he was officially on strike.

“We have a rule that if either an animal or a person’s life is in danger then we will break the picket line to help them,” explained Kirk. “In this case I was glad to assist the Army who did an excellent job of getting Cassie out from the ravine.”

A vet was in attendance accompanied by a member of the RSPCA and under the guidance of Kirk the Army, assisted by a rescue team from the Royal Navy helped pull Cassie up the ravine and back into his field.

Using sheer manpower it took those involved more than an hour to free Cassie who at one point was up to his withers in mud.

“We used straps and ropes to pull the horse up a 20ft incline with a gradient of about 45 degrees,” said Kirk. “He didn’t give up and a couple of times he floundered as he tried to get to his feet.

“Once we got him to the top we made sure he was well clear of the drop before he got to his feet unaided. Everyone was concerned for him as he is an old horse but apart from being cold and a bit stiff, he was absolutely fine.

“In fact he walked back across the field to his stable like a racehorse!”