Firefighters tried to rescue an elderly horse that had fallen into a stream at Leigh in Greater Manchester on 3 February, but the horse had to be put down.

Crews from Leigh, Eccles and Atherton fire stations were called to rescue the horse, Sam, which appeared to have become tangled in fencing and tumbled down the bank into the stream.

The alarm was raised in the early afternoon by two young girls who saw the horse in the water.
Three fire engines a specialist water incident unit and an enhanced rescue unit were called to the incident at the rear of shops on Priestners Way.

Firefighters managed to release the horse from the wire and using spades dug out an area of the embankment so that the horse could walk out of the stream.

But the horse, which was 18 years old, had been stuck in about a foot-and-a-half of water for a couple of hours and didn’t have the strength to walk up the embankment and lay down on its side in the freezing water.

Rescue slings were secured around the horse’s body and firefighters managed to drag the horse out of the water and up the embankment.

The RSPCA, a local vet and the horse’s owners were at the scene and after several attempts to get the horse back on its feet the decision to put the horse down was made.