A horse has been rescued following serious flooding in Cumbria.

Bay gelding Beau was trapped on an island in his field in Burneside, Kendal, on Sunday (15 November) after the river Kent burst its banks.

The RSPCA deployed two crews of officers, who have been trained in water rescues, to save Beau.

“Beau was on an island of dry land in a flooded field, he was surrounded by a fast flowing river on one side and a pool of knee-deep water on the other,” said chief inspector Mark Gent.

He was quite timid. We tried to catch him with a head collar and a bucket of feed but he kept moving so we used a rope to form a barrier along the river.

“We then shepherded him through the water into another field with higher ground and reunited him with his friend Bomber.”

The team also checked the welfare on two more groups of horses on flooded fields in Kendal on Sunday.

Flood response team

The RSPCA is part of Defra’s national flood response team and has around 100 officers trained and equipped to deal with flood-stricken animals.

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In addition to trained staff, the RSPCA has a fleet of 35 inflatable boats, sea boats and portable roll-away boats to help rescue animals, as well as deliver vital supplies such as food and water to stranded herds of horses and cattle.

Water response team members undergo a week-long swift water technician course at Plas y Brenin in north Wales with a refresher every year and a recertification every three years.

“Flooding can affect wildlife, farm livestock and pets alike so it’s crucial that we have RSPCA inspectors who are specifically trained to carry out these rescues,” Mr Gent added.

“Not only does it help animals but it can also potentially stop people putting themselves in danger.”