Avon Fire and Rescue Service were called to a field at Emersons Green, near Kingwood in south Gloucestershire on Sunday when a rider reported seeing a horse stuck in a ditch.

The 15-year-old mare had been trapped for “a number of hours” and seemed to have given up when she was spotted by a passing rider.

In accordance with the new Safer Horse Rescues Protocol, Avon Fire and Rescue Service were quick to reach the scene and used a harness and heavy-lifting gear to pull the horse free.

“The horse was in a serious condition when we arrived. Had it not been for the speed with which the police and fire service responded, I believe the horse would have died,” said Jerry Watkins, Equine Welfare Manager of Bristol-based horse rescue charity, HorseWorld.

“When we left the site, the mare was steady on her feet, eating and drinking and starting to recover her strength.”

“The vet returned to check on the mare’s condition yesterday and today she will be assessed by a field officer from World Horse Welfare.”

“We will continue to jointly monitor her care and ensure that she makes a full recovery.”

Mr Watkins said the horse’s owner appeared at the scene towards the end of the rescue and has agreed to make all the necessary improvements to ensure the future welfare of the horse.

A veterinary inspection confirmed that the horse was in fact not pregnant, as local press had claimed.