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A racehorse in Maryland, USA, nearly drowned on 18 June during an aquatherapy session at Mount Airy’s Serra Valley Farm.

The Thoroughbred was being lead into a 4.5ft deep therapy pool at the centre when she reared up and fell back into the water.

Sharon Hardy, the centre’s aquatherapy manager, told H&H: “She was submerged for about 15 seconds and then was on her back in the water for close to an hour.”

Sharon jumped into the water with the four-year-old and pulled her half the length of the pool to the ramp, keeping the mare’s head out of the water.

When vet Dr Mike Odian arrived he administered steroids to help the mare’s lungs because she had inhaled water. Sharon said: “The steroids also gave her a huge boost of energy so she was able to flip herself over and out of the pool.”

The horse, called Across The Coals, sustained no injuries during the incident and is “doing very well” back with her owner. She underwent an ultrasound examination on Friday morning (22 June) and is receiving antibiotics for ventral pneumonia. She is expected to make a full recovery.

Across The Coals had been at the centre for a muscle-conditioning programme.

Sharon said: “We use aquatherapy both for rehabilitation and conditioning. Like swimming, it can help a horse to run.”

Henry Tremaine of the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) told H&H: “Pool therapy does have a role to play in rehabilitation and the treatment of muscular skeletal injuries, but a large pool is not a natural environment for a horse. It shouldn’t be undertaken lightly and needs carefully controlled conditions.”

The pool at Mount Airy is about 46ft long, 3ft wide with a 12ft treadmill at the bottom.