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Seven horses at a yard in Gloucestershire faced an unexpected swim last Friday (20 July) when excessive flood water left them submerged in their stables.

Ben Reynolds, whose mother Julie owns two of the horses, told H&H how he, Julie and aunt Trisha Nash, rescued the stricken equines from the yard in Natton, Tewkesbury.

Ben said: “The water was about 3ft deep on the road, but it rose to about 7ft at the yard half a mile away. When we got there the horses in the stables were submerged up to their necks. They were pretty panicky.”

The three rescuers released the horses, which included an ex-racehorse, from their stables, but Ben said the equines were wary because they didn’t recognise their owners.

“We just looked like heads in the water to them,” he said, adding: “They have never swum before and the water was really cold.”

The trio then swam with the horses to safety at a studfarm half a mile down the road. The whole operation took about three hours.

Ben said not all the horses managed to avoid injury: “Some got cut up because there were submerged hedges which they were trying to jump whilst in the water. It was two days before the vet administered jabs as it took that long for the water to subside.”

Unprecedented flooding has led to the RSPCA deploying about a third of its field staff and at least 16 boats in the afflicted counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, and Worcestershire. About 1,500 animals have been rescued so far.