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A grateful owner says her mare “would not be here today” were it not for the team of rescuers who came to her aid after a terrifying accident.

Kent-based Gemma Booth was hacking her 20-year-old mare Gabby on Saturday (7 October) when the incident took place.

It was the first time Gemma had taken Gabby out since competing in the Veteran Horse Society Championships the previous weekend.

The pair were heading home to their yard in Ash when Gabby spooked and shot backwards.

“She lost her footing and fell backwards into a dyke,” Gemma told H&H. “She fell on top of me, trapping my leg underneath her.

“Gabby began to thrash around trying to find her footing, which enabled me to wriggle my leg free. I crawled up the bank towards her head so I could grab her reins and calm her down.”

Gemma’s friend Suzie Inglis, who she had been riding with, stopped a passing motorist to ask for help.

This man called the fire brigade and a local farmer, who also came to help with the rescue.

The large animal rescue unit from Faversham fire station attended, as well as Gemma’s vet, Lukasz Lukaszczyk from East Kent Equine.

“They were absolutely amazing and talked me through the entire process,” said Gemma.

“After being in total shock and upset, their kind words really helped me through the ordeal.

“They were so kind and gentle throughout, which really helped keep her calm.”

Gabby was sedated and strops were placed around her so she could be winched to safety.

“Lukasz checked her over and she had no visible injures, her temperature was good, and her gums were pink,” said Gemma. “I have never been so relieved.

“Gabby began to come round as I sat at her head talking to her and telling her how silly she had been.

“The fire team explained that sometimes they need a helping hand to stand, so they winched her up and slowly began to lower her until each hoof rested gently on the ground.

“Once she was able to bear weight, they removed the strops.”

Coming home

Gemma was “amazed” she and Gabby escaped with no more than “bumps and bruises”.

“She even refused to get on the horsebox and jogged the entire 20-minute walk home after her ordeal,” said Gemma.

“Gabby is now happily munching in her field again with her Dartmoor companion William, who was very happy to see her back.”

Gemma wanted to thank Gabby’s rescuers.

“This team saved my mare’s life,” she added. “I will never be able to put into words how grateful I am for this. Without them she simply would not be here today.

“Each and every person had their own part to play, and made a horrible situation that little bit easier for me and Gabby.

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“Faversham’s animal rescue team is a service which is invaluable to all large animal owners in Kent.

“I want to raise awareness and make sure everybody knows what a fantastic service they provide.

“I plan to do some fundraising for this station after the help and kindness I received. I have decided to run Tough Mudder [a 10-12 mile obstacle race], with all money raised going to them.”

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