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A mare that had fallen through an old wooden bridge over the River Rother was lifted to safety by specialist firefighters last week.

The 17-year-old mare, Tilly, wandered onto a railed-off bridge in her field on a farm in East Sussex after rubbing down the fence.

The farmer found her on the afternoon of 20 May stuck on the bridge after her left leg had fallen through the planks.

A vet attended and sedated the mare to reduce the likelihood of injury while the rescue operation was taking place.

3 Start of lift

East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service put the horse in a sling and lifted her to safety using a crane mounted on a vehicle.

“This was one of the most challenging and difficult rescues we’ve done,” said firefighter Trevor Funnell.

2 Sedated & Prep

Tilly’s co-owner, Mandy Alchin, added: “She’s got a few bumps and scratches, but was fine the next day.  We are so grateful to the East Sussex Fire Brigade.”

The bridge has now been refenced.

Mr Funnell advises all owners to regularly check the fencing in their fields.

4 Lifting with crane

“If there’s ever a case of needing to call the fire service make sure the vet is called at the same time as this will speed up the rescue,” he added.

5 Walking off sedation

Pictures courtesy of East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service

Read the incredible story of an injured horse airlifted 3 miles to safety after falling down ravine.