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A Suffolk Punch who was successfully rescued from a deep ditch at a farm in Curdridge, Hampshire, has been put down following the incident.

The 18.2hh chestnut gelding, Senator (pictured), was finally freed from the ditch at 2am on 25 September after a six-hour operation by Hampshire fire fighters and a specialist animal rescue team working with the Animed Veterinary Group.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s rural safety officer, Anton Phillips, said the 12-year-old horse had become trapped by his own weight — 1.3 tonnes — as he lay on his side.

It is thought that the removal of two ponies from his field had upset the Suffolk Punch, causing him to pace up and down by the fence until he slipped and fell into the ditch.

The team put webbing straps underneath Senator and used a tractor to lift him on to the bank.

Once in an upright position, Senator was propped up with bales of hay and given painkillers by a vet.

But he fell to the ground three times within 36hr of the rescue, and on the final occasion the decision was made to put him down.

Earlier this year, the Emergency Services Protocol was launched to help rescuers cope with similar equine incidents (news, 10 May). The move was the result of an initiative launched by H&H and the British Horse Society (news, 5 April).

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (11 October, ’07)