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Firefighters in California worked for three hours to free a horse from a 10ft hole in the ground yesterday (Tuesday 20 January)

The horse fell into the hole near Arroyo Grande in San Luis Obispo County, in the US state of California, at around 10.30am local time.

sink hole

Credit: Cal Fire San Luis Obispo

Firefighters spent three hours rescuing the horse, using a digger to hoist it out.

At 1.36pm San Luis Obispo Country Fire Department confirmed that the horse had been “successfully extricated from the sinkhole”.

sink hole 5

Credit: Cal Fire San Luis Obispo

When it was recovered from the hole, the horse was treated by a vet. The animal was unhurt by the experience.

sink hole 3

Credit: Cal Fire San Luis Obispo

Initial reports from the fire department suggested the animal had fallen into a sinkhole — which is caused when the top layer of ground collapses.

However, later reports said the hole appeared to have been man-made, as the horse was found “trapped and entangled” in lumber and plywood.

The horse was found when concerned neighbours called the fire department.

sink hole 2

Credit: Cal Fire San Luis Obispo

This is the second horse to be rescued from a hole in a matter of weeks.

Earlier this month (5 January) H&H reported on a 30-year-old horse who had been “swallowed up” by a sinkhole in Florida.

Nate was found stuck in his “retirement pasture” by his owners on the 27 December.

“He was grazing at 1.30pm and by 3.30pm we found him like this,” said his owner Maryann Marsh at the time. “There was not a hole in that pasture before today.”

After attempting to free the horse herself, she then called the fire service for help.

Wildwood Fire Department then took two hours to rescue Nate, pulling him out with ropes.

Sinkholes can be anything from 3ft-2,000ft deep and wide and can appear suddenly or over time due to erosion.