A dramatic video has been captured of horses being rescued and swum to safety when their field flooded after Storm Callum hit this weekend.
Two colts became trapped on Saturday (13 October) after their field in Gilwern, Monmouthshire, was submerged in water when the river Usk burst its banks in the early hours.
Owner Gareth Silcox told H&H: “I received a call in the morning from the elderly farmer who owns the land. He said the river was flooding and he was concerned about the field; he asked me to go and check everything was ok.
“When I arrived the field was flooded and the horses had made their way to the highest point but the water was nearly up to their bellies. We monitored the water but it didn’t stop raining, the water level wasn’t dropping and we had to get them out. We’ve used the field for years and never had concerns previously, I’ve never seen this happen before.”
Gareth was assisted by seven helpers including friend Matthew Burton, who entered the water with him.
“Matthew and I climbed down into the field and swam over to the horses. They were stood about six metres apart and one had got stuck behind fencing. The water in the deepest part was about five foot deep by this point, and you couldn’t stand on the banks because it was so slippery.
“We got halters on and Matthew swam one horse out but we had to get wire cutters to cut the fencing the other one had got trapped in. We didn’t want him to panic, rear up and jump into the water and make things worse.”
Gareth cut the horse free and was able to swim him over to the trailer where the other horse was being looked after.
Becky Eardley, who helped, and took the video, told H&H: “I used to keep horses at the same farm and often walk down there. When I woke up and saw photos on social media of how bad the flooding in the area was I rushed down to check if the horses were ok.”
Becky arrived after the first had been rescued and filmed the second one being swum to safety.
18 horses in flooded fields in Christchurch have been rescued by the RSPCA
Eight horses were rescued from flood water by the RSPCA
Take out a trial subscription to Horse & Hound magazine and get 6 issues for just £6
“I stood with the first horse on the trailer while Gareth swam with the other one. It’s amazing how calm the horses were, they hadn’t had halters on before this and the first horse stood so well on the trailer while the other one was rescued. It’s like they knew we were there to help,” said Becky.
Both horses escaped injury-free.
“The main thing is everyone is safe and we got them out safe and sound. We brought them back to our stables and they’ve been getting treated liked royalty,” said Gareth.
H&H recommends that readers call the fire service if they find horses stranded by flooding and await their expertise, rather than trying to rescue them themselves due to the potential danger.
For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.