A movie star horse from the Lord of the Rings films has had two metres of small intestine removed in emergency colic surgery.

Brego, who played Aragorn’s mount in the hit movie trilogy Lord of the Rings, was rushed to an equine hospital at Massey University in New Zealand.

Brego, Dutch Warmblood stallion who carried Aragorn in Lord of the Rings
Brego in action with Viggo Mortensen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy

Vet Frederik Pauwels operated on Brego within 40min of his arrival at Massey.

He said: “”It was clear from the moment Brego arrived he was in a critical state. We found a large amount of small intestine stuck in a tear in his gut — part of his bowel was stuck.””

Mr Pauwels added: “”Because of the severity of the case we expected problems with him afterwards, but he did really great.””

Vet Ray Lenaghan, who looks after Brego, said he knew when the horse fell ill he “would have to either take him to Massey or dig a hole”.

Since his operation, however, the 22-year-old Dutch Warmblood stallion has been eating and drinking normally.

Brego was known as Uraeus, a former top-level dressage horse and sire of successful sporting horses in New Zealand. His talent was spotted while he was in semi-retirement, and his then owner and trainer the late Lockie Richards agreed to lease the horse to the Lord of the Rings production.

Viggo Mortensen, who played Aragorn in the films, became so fond of Brego that he bought the stallion after the filming ended. Mr Mortensen — who is currently filming in Hungary  is said to be very grateful that everyone acted so quickly to save the horse, and is looking forward to seeing him again later this year.