A horse that had become stuck in quicksand at a beach in Ulverston, Cumbria on 24 July was rescued by the fire brigade.

The rider, who was in her 20s, watched as 15 fire fighters from the Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service battled to free the stricken horse that had become submerged up to its shoulders in the wet sand.

Roger Exley, station manager of Barrow Fire Station, said the incoming tide and the fast-flowing water meant he knew he had a maximum of 45min to complete the operation, but in the event it took just 20min.

“We used non-standard equipment which the fire fighters had developed specifically for heavy animal rescues. We pushed a 2m semi-circular metal bar with strops (webbing) attached, through the mud under the pony’s belly. We also softened the sand by blasting it with jet water, which was quite frightening for the horse.”

The fire fighters and members of the public then pulled on either end of the strops to force the horse upwards out of the flooded sand.

“The horse just came straight out,” said Mr Exley, who praised the crews for their speedy work. “We would probably have lost her had they not acted so quickly – they did a really good job.”

He added that the horse “looked fine” as it was ridden away.