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A teenage rider had a lucky escape on Sunday when an afternoon beach ride with friends nearly cost her her life.

Rebecca Strange, 18, was riding along East Beach, Shoeburyness, Essex on Sunday afternoon when her horse collapsed, pinning her in the water as the tide came in.

Martin Collins of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency says: “Rebecca and four friends were riding through the surf when Rebecca’s horse suffered a heart attack. The horse collapsed, trapping the girl underneath in the water.”

Southend Coastguard, Southend Lifeboat, Essex Police and Essex Ambulance all attended the incident, which took place at 2.15pm.

“Within 10min of the coastguards being called, the rider was receiving attention from the ambulance crew. The recovery would have been more difficult if the water had come in any further,” continues Martin.

“The father of one of the other riders drove his four wheel drive vehicle on to the beach to help, while his wife called the Coastguard after the girls raised the alarm.”

After the rescue Rebecca was taken to Southend Hospital to be treated for minor injuries and seawater inhalation. Two of the other riders, Natalie Johnson and Ann Marie Masti, were also hospitalised as they were suffering from shock. Rebecca’s horse died at the scene.

“I have known of other incidents where riders and horses have been trapped in ditches but I certainly haven’t heard of anything like this before,” says Martin.