A miniature Shetland had a lucky escape after plunging into a river on Monday (9 January).

Eight-year-old gelding Nemo had seen his field mates moving from one paddock to another and decided he would take matters into his own hands.

Rather than waiting to be led around the fast-flowing river Forth he tried to cross the water, but quickly got into trouble.

“Nemo was left last with two other equally ‘sensible’ animals but rather than waiting for us, he went into the river instead,” Nemo’s owner Kay Paterson told H&H.

“I heard a splashing noise and looked down and saw his wee head struggling to stay above water close to the bank.

“The bank was too steep to get him out so I went in and found a bit of protruding bank and a fallen branch to steady myself, but was still up to my hips in water.”

Kay took off Nemo’s rug as it had been dragging him down.

“I got a headcollar on him just as he started to panic so luckily we could keep his head above water,” she said.

“As he tried to get out he got wedged behind a fallen branch, which was helpful as it took some of his weight, but also unhelpful as we couldn’t then get him free.”

By this time Nemo had been in the water for around 15 minutes and was becoming exhausted so Kay decided to call the emergency services.

Crews arrived at the field within about 20 minutes.

“They were very gentle with him and understood how to keep him calm and give him time to recover before the next effort,” said Kay.

Nemo was in the water for around 40 minutes in total before he was eventually pulled from the water.

Once out, he was put in a dry rug and taken to the stables where he was seen by vet Claire Cameron from Forth Valley Vets.

“Nemo was showing all the right signs so she was happy with him,” Kay said.

“He was given antibiotics in case he had taken water into his lungs.

“He has been stabled since with a small walk out for grass and we’ll turn him out in a small paddock as soon as the current storm subsides.”

Scottish Centre for Equine Rescue and Rehoming

Coloured Nemo is based at the Scottish Centre for Equine Rescue and Rehoming (ERR) a not-for-profit organisation in Aberfoyle.

The Aberfoyle centre has rehomed around 50 horses during Kay’s seven years running the yard.

“We take in horses owners can no longer keep, work on any issues that may be holding them back and generally prepare them for new homes,” she said.

Kay has owned Nemo since he was a yearling.

Although not a rescue pony himself, he provides companionship for new arrivals and horses on box rest.

“We get a lot of flooding from the Forth here, but I have never had to go into a river before,” added Kay.

“Luckily the location of the pony near the protruding bank made it a relatively safe place to go in.


Popular articles:


“The horses are all generally very water aware and Nemo has been here since he was a yearling, so knows the land well and he has never previously entered the river.

“They regularly cross this section of river and earlier the same day four cobs and Merlin, the resident one-eyed miniature mule, had already made the crossing quite easily although Nemo had not seen this as was still in the original field at the time.

“We’ve really no idea what possessed him to be so reckless, its most likely he wanted to get over to join Nola (pictured above), he has a bit of a crush on her which was formed when she first came into the rescue in 2014.

“I’ll need to make sure he isn’t trusted to be sensible and left behind again when the river’s so high, as it’s very likely he won’t associate the river with this bad experience given its ever-presence at Aberfoyle.”

For more information visit: www.equinerescueandrehoming.info