A mare thought to have jumped out of her field during a nearby fireworks display was found “slumped” in a ditch the following morning.
Six-year-old Irish draught Queenie jumped out of her field on Saturday night (5 November) after being frightened by the display.
Queenie then fell into a ditch and became stuck in the muddy water.
Yard owner Adam Gibson discovered Queenie the following morning, and firefighters and his vet, Anna Hammond, were called to the stables, near Bristol.
“Before getting to the field I heard a noise and found a very distressed Queenie slumped in the ditch covered in mud,” he said.
“The fire brigade and vet arrived within half an hour and by this time I had jumped in the ditch to stuff hay in Queenie’s rug and under her head for support.”
When the crews saw the size of 16.2hh Queenie, they contacted a tactical water unit, which arrived around an hour later to start digging out the ditch so staps could be put around Queenie.
“They were amazing and worked tirelessly to get the ropes under her,” said Mr Gibson.“After around three hours of hard work from everyone, Queenie was pulled free.
“We got her straight to the stable where we spent around an hour drying her with straw and making numerous rug changes. Bar a scratched eye she was thankfully unharmed.
“This could have been a very bad disaster and had everybody not had acted how they did Queenie wouldn’t be here for sure.”
Ms Hammond explained that Queenie was “worryingly immobile” when she arrived at the yard.
“Queenie was so immersed in mud that I couldn’t easily see what colour she was,” she said.
“She seemed exhausted; several observers thought she was dying. I was worried that she may be giving up due to hypothermia.
“She suddenly started thrashing which gave us hope that she hadn’t given up altogether. I was lowered down, on a rope, and got a headcollar on her and gave her some sedation so the firemen could start getting strops around her.
“At this stage it was imperative we keep her head out of the muddy water to avoid her breathing in such dirty fluid. The fire brigade had to dig out a large chunk of the bank to allow access.
“Once the strops were in place and Queenie was heavily sedated, she was lifted out with a mobile crane.
“Amazingly enough, as her feet touched the ground she started trying to walk. I have rarely been so relieved.”
Queenie’s owner Holly Vestaskew said she was “incredibly upset” that her horse had had this accident “due to carelessness of people with fireworks”.
“She must have got scared during the night and jumped her fences, which were very high and sturdy,” Ms Vestaskewtold H&H.
“She ran blindly, trying to escape the loud noises and fell into the very large ditch.
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“I can’t thank everybody enough for what they did. Avon and Somerset Fire Brigade, the water unit, Anna and of course Adam. “
Ms Vestaskewtold added that Queenie’s eye is healing very well.
“We were very lucky and I can’t be more happy with her as she was incredibly brave and sensible for her age.”