An Arab horse survived a 5.3km swim through an irrigation tunnel after being sucked into its intake.

Nine-year-old Eddie was being ridden along the banks of the Shoshone River in Wyoming on Thursday when the bank caved in and rider and horse went in to the water.

Eddie, with his full tack, was sucked into the intake of the 5.3km (3.3 mile) Corbett tunnel, which services the Shoshone irrigation district.

Scheme manager Bryant Startin, told a local news organisation the concrete-lined tunnel, which has a curved top and is shaped much like a horseshoe, was carrying 740 cubic feet of water a second on the day of the accident.

It would have taken the horse 45 to 50 minutes to get through the tunnel and he would have been fully submerged for the first 30.5m (100 feet) of the journey, he said.

“It’s absolutely amazing he survived,” Mr Startin added.

Eddie remained in the open canal, partially submerged, until Saturday when an irrigation scheme worker found him standing in water up to his belly.

A rescue operation was mounted and Eddie, with grazes and cuts, was led from the canal.

Eddie’s owner confessed that everyone thought he had drowned and but although one of his legs needed bandaging and he had a high fever and was dehydrated the horse is recovering well.

Incredibly, it is not Eddie’s first tale of survival. In 2007 he went missing during forest fires in Montana but found his way to firecrews and was rescued.