Remarkable footage of a brave mare leading a herd to safety in serious flooding has gone viral on social media.
Torrential rain led to flash flooding in Auckland, New Zealand, last week.
The video, recorded on 7 March, shows the group of mares from Hololio Polo Club in Clevedon stranded in water up to their stomachs.
In the footage, the mares are tentatively walking through the water, led by a bay mare named “TD”.
TD bravely leads the group to safety through a gap in the fence, despite the fast-flow and barely visible gate opening due to the height of the water.
The video, shared by the polo club on Facebook, has been viewed more than 450,000 times and shared by more than 5,000 people.
“The wire fence was [still up], invisible and dangerous under the water,” said a spokesman for the polo club.
“Nick [Jones] and a neighbour had earlier opened the gate with a rope tied around their waists for safety, but the horses were too nervous to go through the rushing water when they couldn’t see the gap.
“Later, the clever and brave lead mare led them through the narrow gate space — metres from the very deep main river channel — and up to safety, even though she could not see the gate gap.”
The mares can be seen reaching higher ground, where they immediately start grazing.
Yard co-owner Josephine Elworthy told local press TD has “always been a star”.
She added that the field the mares became stranded in is not normally prone to flooding.
Hololio Farm is a working polo club, riding school, and polo school, as well as the home of the New Zealand womens’ polo open.
Flooding elsewhere in New Zealand
Meanwhile, Horse of the Year Show (7-12 March) in Hastings, New Zealand, was subjected to torrential rain and flooding.
Around 3,000 people were staying in tents and trucks at the Hawke’s Bay showground.
Dressage and showing continued but other competitions were cancelled, including showjumping classes.
The mounted games was moved to the equestrian centre at Flaxmere.
Debbie Hendry and her daughters Georgia and Mari, part of the Canterbury New Zealand Mounted Games Association, were among those camping.
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Their site was surrounded by a sea of mud, but they remained upbeat.
“We’re pretty well set up, we didn’t get flooded out – games people are pretty hardy,” said Debbie.
“It’s obviously a dampener because we have to move to continue, but it’s our national champs and we need to complete it.”