A pony found trapped in deep mud under a trailer is recovering well after her challenging rescue.
Equine welfare charity HorseWorld were called by police on 9 September to help with a young mare who was in pain and stuck beneath the vehicle, in an industrial area of Avonmouth, Bristol.
Mark Owen, the charity’s managing director, advised police to call Avon Fire and Rescue Service’s animal rescue team as well as B&W Equine vets.
“The environment resembled a waste ground, littered with rubbish, gas canisters and even upturned cars,” said Mr Owen.
“The mare [now named Minty], had been locked in a pen made of mesh fencing and the old trailer she was stuck under had been her shelter.
“There were numerous other trailers there, all 18” deep in muck.”
Firefighter Rob Seaman, station manager at Bath, said they used strops, a drag board and specialised rescue equipment to free the mare, who had been sedated by vets.
“The mare was continually monitored as the sedation wore off and then released into a makeshift pen,” he said.
“After the lengthy rescue it was already dark so crews provided lighting to assist with the move of the animal into a trailer.”
The mare’s leg was covered in cuts from where she had been struggling to free herself and once she was standing, her rescuers were able to see older injuries.
Her mouth was badly cut, suggesting a bit had been left in her mouth and pulled tightly, and there were sores on her back where it appeared a roller or saddle pad had been left on for some time.
“It was so distressing to see this poor mare exhausted and struggling,” said a police officer who attended.
“I was glad that HorseWorld stepped in to help save this horse’s life — it was great to have someone there who could talk us through what agencies needed to be involved and how to keep the mare calm.”
Volunteers rallied to fetch a trailer and vehicle to take the pony back to HorseWorld’s base in Bristol.
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“On arrival, her demeanour was that of a horse who had emotionally shut down,” Mr Owen added.
“Her eyes were glazed and she would completely blank us if we spoke to her over the stable door.
“Her injuries were consistent with brutal training methods so it is not hard to see why, but it was utterly heartbreaking to see a horse with such broken spirit.”
Minty has now recovered and is enjoying life out in the field with other horses at HorseWorld. Visitors can meet her at the HorseWorld open day on 15 October.